Mahershala Ali won the first Oscar of the night on Sunday for his supporting role in “Moonlight"—and he immediately thanked his teachers.
“I want to thank my teachers, my professors. I had so many wonderful teachers. And one thing that they consistently told me—Oliver Chandler, Ron Van Lieu, Ken Washington—is that it wasn’t about you. It’s not about you. It’s about these characters. You’re in service to these stories, to these characters. I’m so blessed to have had an opportunity,” he said.
In another notable mention, Justin Paul, of “La La Land,” thanked his teachers in his acceptance speech for Best Original Song.
“I was educated in public schools where arts and cultures were valued and recognized and resourced, and I’m so grateful to all my teachers who taught so much and gave so much to us,” the “City of Stars” writer said.
The speeches got a lot of love on social media:
Many winners tonight are thanking teachers; teachers, let’s use this fact on our low days as a reminder that we DO matter #Oscars
-- Crys Hodgens (@thehodgenator) February 27, 2017
To all the elementary arts & music teachers, thank you. The #Oscars don’t exist without you. May you forever be funded and supported.
-- Jon Acuff (@JonAcuff) February 27, 2017
Watching the Oscars tonight..so many artists thanking their teachers. A reminder of the influence educators have on their students everyday
-- Dr. Culverhouse (@DrC_LaHabra) February 27, 2017
In another shout out to public education, Topeka, Kan., schools Superintendent Tiffany Anderson walked the Oscar red carpet ahead of the awards show. Anderson, a 2015 Leader to Learn From, has been recognized for her efforts in addressing the needs of students in poverty.
Image: Mahershala Ali accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role for “Moonlight” at the Oscars on Feb. 26, in Los Angeles. Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.