This week has been an amazing one for Mahershala Ali, who as well as becoming a father for the first time, became the first Muslim to win an Academy Award when he scooped the gong for Best Supporting Actor after his star turn in 'Moonlight'. 

MoonlightMahershala Ali stars as Juan in 'Moonlight'

Having already won the Screen Actors Guild Award for his role as Juan in Barry Jenkins' 'Moonlight', Mahershala Ali has made history by becoming the first ever Islamic Oscar winner. It also marks the very first time that both Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress have gone to African-American artists in the same year, with Viola Davis landing the latter for her role in Denzel Washington's big screen adaptation of 'Fences'.

Mahershala opened up about becoming the first Academy Award winning Muslim in a press interview backstage after the ceremony. 'Regardless of one's theology or however you see life or relate to worshipping God, as an artist my job is the same; it's to tell the truth and try to connect with these characters and these people as honestly and as deeply as possible', he said. 

He added that he was still nonetheless pleased to land such a title: 'I'm proud to own that and I embrace that, but again I'm just an artist who feels blessed to have had the opportunities that I have had'.

More: Read our review of 'Moonlight'

Based on the play 'In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue' by Tarell Alvin McCraney, 'Moonlight' is a coming-of-age story about a young boy named Chiron who is growing up in a rough Miami neighbourhood. Ali plays a crack dealer named Juan who takes it upon himself to protect Chiron from bullies and his abusive mother, only to abandon his own morals and fall victim to the temptations of drug dealing once again. The film also won Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 89th Academy Awards.

Mahershala is currently gearing up to star in Robert Rodriguez's sci-fi adventure 'Alita: Battle Angel' (with a script co-written by James Cameron) and J.C. Chandor's South American action flick 'Triple Frontier' with Channing Tatum and Tom Hardy. But perhaps the role he's most excited about is that of a father to his 5-day-old daughter Bari Najma who he shares with his wife Amatus Sami-Karim.