"I absolutely love her and that's my heart," Mahershala Ali said Sunday of daughter Bari, 1, on the Academy Awards red carpet

By Jen Juneau
March 04, 2018 09:30 PM
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Fatherhood fits like a glove for Mahershala Ali.

The Moonlight star couldn’t help but rave about new fatherhood on the Academy Awards red carpet Sunday, opening up about how “beautiful” it has been to be a dad to daughter Bari Najma, 1, his first child with wife Amatus Sami-Karim.

“It’s good. It’s been amazing,” said the actor, who will present tonight’s award for Best Supporting Actress. (Ali took home the Best Supporting Actor prize last year for his performance in Moonlight.)

“She wears me out and puts me in my place in her own way, but I absolutely love her and that’s my heart,” added the proud dad, 44. “She’s absolutely grounding and it’s just beautiful.”

Mahershala Ali
| Credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Ali and Sami-Karim famously welcomed their baby girl just two days before the actor attended the 2017 Academy Awards, where he thanked his wife in his acceptance speech.

“[She was] in her third trimester during award season, and we just had a daughter,” said the Hidden Figures star, raving, “I just want to thank her for being such a soldier through this process and really carrying me through it all.”

The following month, he admitted that new parenthood is “a different kind of crazy,” telling PEOPLE his new way of life was taking a bit of getting used to — but that the pros far outweighed the cons.

“She was smiling last night,” he said. “It’s just been great getting to know this little person whose body seems to change every day and whose awareness heightens every day. It’s just been exciting.”

The 2018 Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4 and will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.