Mahershala Ali snagged the Golden Globe award for best supporting actor in a film during Sunday’s Golden Globes.
The actor won the award for his role as pianist Dr. Don Shirley in Green Book, which also took home a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture and Best Screenplay during Sunday’s ceremony.
In his speech, Ali called Dr. Shirley a “brilliant man” and inspiration.
“I want to thank him for his passion and virtuosity and the dignity he carried himself with that inspired me every day,” the actor said. “I have to thank my wife, my mother and my grandmother. I thank you for your prayers. I needed each and every one of them.”
The controversial film centered on Ali’s Dr. Shirley and his co-star Viggo Mortensen, who played a once-racist Italian driver, hired by Dr. Shirley to drive him safely through the segregated South. On the road, the two not only form a friendship but shed prejudices the two had for one another.
The film has been criticized by Dr. Shirley’s family, who said they were not consulted for the film. In fact, they called the film a “symphony of lies,” and also claimed Ali called them to apologize “if there had been any offense.”
On Sunday night, however, Ali also thanked Mortensen, who recently called the Shirley family’s criticism of Green Book “unjustified, uncorroborated and basically unfair.”
“Viggo you’re an extraordinary scene partner,” Ali added. “You pushed me every day man. No days off. Even the days off weren’t days off.”