In an expected but triumphant win for Best Actor in a Supporting Role during the 89th Academy Awards, Mahershala Ali gave a humble speech, thanking those in his life who helped him achieve such a deserved feat.
“I want to thank my teachers, my professors,” the “Moonlight” actor began. “One thing they consistently told me […] was that it wasn’t about you. It’s not about you, it’s about these characters, you are a servant. You’re in service to these stories and these characters.”
He went on to thank “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins and the film’s cast and crew. He also nodded to his wife and daughter, who was born four days ago.
“I want to thank her for being such a soldier through this process, and carrying me through it all,” he said, in an elegant kickoff to the night.
Ali is the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, a particularly notable achievement in 2017, when the White House has placed travel restrictions on individuals from several Muslim-majority nations. This win also makes Ali the fifth black actor to achieve a Supporting Actor Oscar.
History was made at the 2017 Academy Awards, too, with a record number of wins by black stars, and, ultimately by awarding the most diverse group of Oscar winners since the show began in 1929.
History was not only made by the number of collective wins among stars of color but also by shattered records within many of the individual categories, too. Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney won for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Moonlight,” which also won for Best Picture, Viola Davis took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal in “Fences” becoming the first black woman to win an Oscar, Tony and Emmy award for acting, and director Ezra Edelman won alongside filmmaker Caroline Waterlow for Best Documentary Feature for “O.J.: Made in America.”
Until this year, the most diverse winners group occurred at the 2009 Academy Awards when three black stars won the Academy Award.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.