Ali, who won the Best Male Supporting Actor award for his role as Juan in the Oscar-nominated film, admitted that the film spoke a lot to him as a man. During his acceptance speech, Ali spoke on what he learned from making the film.
"What I think I learned from working onMoonlightis you see what happens when you persecute people," said Ali. "They fold into themselves. What I was so thankful about in having the opportunity to play Juan was playing a gentleman who saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community, taking that opportunity to uplift him, and tell him that he mattered and that he was okay and accept him. And I hope that we do a better job of that."
"I was borderline depressed for years," said Ali. "There was a sadness over me, a melancholy. That's always been a part of me those are some of the things that lead you to the arts.
Ali also talked about his character selling drugs and how it related to his real life.
"My friend's mom was a drug dealer, but I didn't know she was a drug dealer," said Ali. "Drugs were a way for people to support themselves without advertising it. It was done covertly. Today, we are used to seeing all these chains and these cars, when a lot of times it was done discreetly and to support someone's income."