The Project co-host last night won the Gold Logie for the Best Personality on Australian TV after earlier winning Best Presenter.
A journalist and commentator, Aly spoke about racism within the TV industry and how he had been privately championed by people he knew to win.
He spoke of one person “in this room” who had changed his name just to get a job in TV.
“There have been a lot of people in the past week or two who have made it clear to me that me being here right now really matters to them,” he said.
“It matters to them for a particular reason.
“That reason was brought home… not so long ago actual when someone who is in this room, and I’m not going to use the name they use in the industry, came up to me, introduced themselves and said to me, ‘I really hope you win. My name is Mustafa. But I can’t use that name because I won’t get a job.’
“He’s here tonight. And it matters to people like that that I am here. I know it’s not because of me. I know that.”
Aly beat SBS cult figure Lee Lin Chin, actress Essie Davis, Family Feud host Grant Denyer, The Block frontman Scott Cam and last year’s Gold Logie winner, fellow Project host Carrie Bickmore. He also earlier took home a silver Logie for best presenter.
In a night where calls for change were a common theme, veteran screen star Noni Hazlehurst earned a standing ovation as she became the second ever woman after Ruth Cracknell to be inducted into the Logies Hall Of Fame, which started in 1984.
The actress made a powerful acceptance speech taking aim at the snail-like pace of change within the Australian TV industry, saying it was slow to accept women and non-Anglo Saxon Logie nominees such as Waleed Aly and Lee Lin Chin.
“The fact that I’m only the second woman to be given this honour is merely a reflection of the prevailing guard,” she said.
In the night’s lighter moments, actress Julia Morris belted out an over the top rendition of Bonnie Tyler’s “I Need A Hero”.
Comedians Peter Helliar and Dave Hughes also made sure the 60 Minutes kidnapping drama wasn’t forgotten too soon by taking pot shots at the Nine Network show.
Hughes was first to ridicule the current affairs show during his opening monologue on Nine’s live telecast of the event.
“Channel Nine did their version of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! with 60 Minutes in Beirut,” Hughes told the star-studded audience at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.
Helliar was offering advice to teenager Ky Baldwin, who won the Graham Kennedy, Breakthrough Star of Tomorrow award.
“My advice, your first Logies, don’t drink with (Karl) Stefanovic, don’t dance with (Carrie) Bickmore, and don’t accept a lift home from the 60 Minutes crew, OK.”
Actor and writer Tim Minchin, who won the peer-voted Most Outstanding Supporting Actor, used his Logies acceptance speech to encourage Australia to rewrite its history of settlement no matter how painful.
Seven’s Home and Away won its fifth Logie for being the most popular drama.
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