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Moonlight, Mahershala Ali

A24 Films

Mahershala Ali knew Moonlight was something special as soon as he read the script.

"I was blown away," Ali, 42, just told me. "I actually cried a couple of times because it was just so beautiful on paper. It was a tough read but you could really connect with the characters. It felt so human."

The movie follows the journey of a boy named Chiron from growing up in impoverished Miami to adulthood as he struggles to accept his sexuality as well as live with a mom who is addicted to crack.

Ali just picked up a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the film as a local drug dealer who becomes a father figure to Chiron while he's still in elementary school. Moonlight picked up a total of six nominations, including one for best picture (drama).

Moonlight, Mahershala Ali

A24 Films

"I think Moonlight reminds me that we need to be supportive of people coming to terms with who they are and in their own time," Ali said. "We need to be supportive of people's journeys of their own self-realization."

Most important, Ali added, we need to have more empathy. "I think that's why the film is resonating with people at this time in our country with so many things going on," he said.

Ali needed to be reminded of when the Golden Globes will be handed out because it will determine his date for the big night. When I tell him it's on Jan. 8, Ali says, "My wife [Amatus Sami-Karimis] is pregnant. She's due mid-February. So as these wonderful opportunities pop up and award shows, I look at that calendar and I'm looking at her belly and trying to do the math a little bit. So she will be my date. It's been a wonderful few months."

And this is just the beginning!

Moonlight is in theaters now.