Mahershala Ali goes to Washington: He may follow Denzel as only the 2nd black actor to win 2 Oscars

It looks like Mahershala Ali is well on his way to winning his second Oscar in just three years. He won Best Supporting Actor for “Moonlight” (2016), and he’s currently the front-runner to win that award again for his performance in “Green Book.” That would be the fastest any actor has won two Oscars since Tom Hanks went back-to-back in Best Actor for “Philadelphia” (1993) and “Forrest Gump” (1994). But this would also be historic because it would be only the second time a black actor has won twice.

Denzel Washington is currently the only black actor to double up. He won the first of those for his supporting performance in the Civil War drama “Glory” (1989). Then he got a promotion to Best Actor with his win for “Training Day” (2001). He was only the second black actor ever to win for a leading role, following Sidney Poitier for “Lilies of the Field” (1963). The same night Washington won for “Training Day,” Poitier actually received an Honorary Oscar for his body of work, but Poitier only won once competitively, so Washington stands alone in that regard.

Ali was a critical and industry favorite for “Moonlight” before winning the Oscar, and he has been doing just as well with his performance as a pianist touring the Jim Crow South in “Green Book.” He has already swept the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards and SAG Awards as of this writing, and he currently gets leading odds of 16/5 to win the Oscar.

Out of the 16 Expert journalists we’ve polled as of this writing, 13 of them are betting on Ali to repeat: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Eric Deggans (NPR), Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Joyce Eng (Gold Derby), Tim Gray (Variety), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Michael Musto (NewNowNext), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Christopher Rosen (TVGuide.com), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Susan Wloszczyna (Gold Derby). Do you agree that Ali will match Washington’s historic feat?

Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until winners are announced on February 24.

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