Oscar 2017: Mahershala Ali, Supporting Actor, Moonlight

Mahershala Ali, Golden Globe nominee for Best Supporting Actor, Moonlight

“This whole experience has caught me off guard.  It’s all really new — being nominated, among this peer group. Being involved in a film where my work is being individually recognized, as well as the film.”

“There’s been a lot of positive talk and absolutely I appreciate the nomination, but I think in some ways none of it’s real until it’s happening.”

Ali has already won several supporting-actor awards from various critics’ groups, including the L.A., Boston, and the Broadcast Film Critics Associations.

The critical recognition is for playing Juan, the drug dealer, who becomes a surrogate father to the film’s protagonist as a boy.

It’s a good year for Ali.  Just before “Moonlight” world premiered at the Toronto Film Fest, he warned an Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actor in a drama series, for “House of Cards.”

“I was on my way out with that show, I’d done it for four years, I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Ali said of the Netflix drama.  “I was really trying to get new work that I connected to, and keeping it moving forward.”

The next crucial event will be garnering Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination from his peers at the Acting Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to be announced on January 24.