Mahershala Ali dedicated his second Oscar to his grandmother

By Alexia Fernandez
February 24, 2019 09:47 PM
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Mahershala Ali is taking home the iconic gold statue!

The 45-year-old actor won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for Green Book on Sunday night.

The star was up against Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman; Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born; Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?; and Sam Rockwell, Vice.

“The Academy, thank you. I want to thank Doctor Shirley, for just trying to capture his essence,” he said in his speech. “Trying to capture Dr. Shirley’s essence pushed me to my ends and it’s the reflection of the person he was and the life he lived. I thank him.”

Ali also thanked his costar, Viggo Mortensen, saying, “I thank my partner Viggo. It was extraordinary working with you. [Director] Peter Farrelly, thank you for your leadership and your guidance and for also giving us space — really giving us space to work it out and coming in and tweaking. Really appreciate it and love you. [Executive producer] Octavia Spencer. Kris Bowers, my double.”

The actor also thanked his grandmother, saying, “I want to dedicate this to my grandmother, who has been in my ear my entire life, telling me if at first I don’t succeed, try, try again. That I could put anything I put my mind to. Always pushing me to think positively and I know I would not be here without her, she has gotten me over the hump every step of the way. I thank my wife, my daughter Bari, I thank Universal, Participant, Amblin, everyone that contributed with helping with our movie. Again, thank you so much.”

This is Ali’s second Oscar nomination and second win. He won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2017 for his role in Moonlight.

Mahershala Ali
Kevin Winter/Getty

For Green Book, he’s already won a Golden Globe and SAG Award for his performance.

The movie tells the story of Dr. Don Shirley, a black jazz pianist on tour in the 1960s Deep South portrayed by Ali, and his driver Tony Lip, played by Mortensen.

Ali’s first major film was 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. He gained wider attention for his role in House of Cards, and featured as Boggs in The Hunger Games film series.

RELATED VIDEO: See How Viggo Mortensen Transformed into His Oscar-Nominated Role of Tony Lip in Green Book

Be sure to check out PEOPLE’s full Oscars coverage to get the latest news on film’s biggest night.

He also starred in the third season of HBO’s hit crime series True Detective.

The 91st Academy Awards are being presented live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday.