The 89th Academy Awards ceremony was filled with melanated excellence.
Mahershala Ali snagged the first Oscar handed out for the night, winning best supporting actor gold for his portrayal of Juan in the critically acclaimed film ‘Moonlight.’ He made history as the first Muslim actor to ever win the award.
During his speech, he thanked the teachers who prepared him for his craft.
“It wasn’t about you, It’s not about you. It’s about these characters. You are in service to these stories and these characters,” he said, remembering his instructor’s advice earlier in his career.
The stars of Hidden Figures (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae) had the honor of bringing Katherine Johnson, NASA hero and inspiration for the box office hit on stage. The #BlackGirlMagic was overflowing on stage.
Viola Davis won her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Fences.
“I became an artist, and thank God I did, because we are the only profession that celebrates what it means to celebrate a life,” she said during her speech.
“Here’s to August Wilson who exhumed and exalted the ordinary people,” she continued, referring to Denzel Washington as ‘Captain, my captain.’
The emotional moments took a comedic break, when a group of tourists got a surprise trip to the Oscars. Host Jimmy Kimmel announced earlier in the show that they were surprising a group of tour bus riders by bringing them into the Academy Awards on live TV.
Best actor nominee Denzel Washington stood up from the audience to marry two tourists from Chicago.
Moonlight director Barry Jenkins proudly took home the Oscar for ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’ and reminded viewers, ‘All you people out there, who thought your life wasn’t reflected, the Academy has your back. The ACLU has your back. We’ve got your back.’
Tarell Alvin McCraney also left us with inspirational words. “For all the Black and brown boys and girls, who don’t see themselves, we’re trying to show you you and us.”