The day after Oscar's craziest, shocking moment ever, questions still linger about why "La La Land" was announced best picture when "Moonlight" was the true winner.
L.A. Times' film critic Justin Chang comes to the conclusion that the two movies' fortunes were inextricable and the you-couldn’t-have-scripted-it finale oddly enough made sense.
The Times caught up with Mahershala Ali after his historic night as the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar.
"Regardless of theology, or however you see life, or relate to worshipping God -- as an artist, my job is to tell the truth and then try to connect with these characters and people as honestly and deeply as possible," Ali said.
While Ali said that any specific spiritual practice is irrelevant, it can be a doorway to "more empathy for these people you have to advocate for."
"I’m proud to own [being Muslim] and I embrace that. I just feel blessed to have had the opportunities that I have had."
As for the onstage mix-up for "Moonlight," Ali has a lot of respect for the musical that almost stole their light. "'La La Land' has done so well and resonated with so many people, especially in this time when people need a sense of buoyancy in their life and need some hope and light. That film has really affected people in a very different way than 'Moonlight.'"
"When their name was read, I wasn't surprised. I was really happy for them," he said. "Then, when I saw security and people coming onstage and their moment was being disrupted, I got really worried. When they said 'Moonlight' had won, it threw me a bit. Well... it threw me more than a bit. I didn’t want to go up there and take it from somebody. It’s very hard to feel joy in a moment like that."
However, in the end Ali can see the silver lining. "I feel very fortunate for us all to have walked away with best picture. It's pretty remarkable."
As for landing his Oscar-winning character in "Moonlight," Ali jokes, “I’m glad Idris [Elba] and David Oyelowo left me a job.”