Barkhad Abdi And Tom Hanks
Somali-born Limo Driver Barkhad Abdi For Oscars
      Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks

Barkhad Abdi and Tom Hanks

Somali-born Barkhad Abdi holds an interesting tale close to his chest. In fact, he is a limo driver who has been nominated in this year’s Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars.

The 28-year-old’s dramatic shift from being a mere limo driver in Minnesota, USA to an Oscar-nominated actor is a truly inspirational story.

Barkhad Abdi has been nominated in the ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’ category of this year’s Oscars for his role in the movie ‘Captain Phillips’ which also stars award winning actor Tom Hanks.

The movie tells the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

The people standing in Barkhad’s way to making history at the Oscars include Bradley Cooper for ‘American Hustle’; Michael Fassbender for ’12 Years a Slave’; Jonah Hill, for ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’; and Jared Leto for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’.

‘Escaping Somali’s war fields to living the American dream’

The Oscar-nominated actor shared an interesting story of how he escaped war-torn Somalia in 1991, won an American Visa Lottery and and now living the American dream in an interview with the BBC.

“I was born in Somalia and by the age of seven years old, the war started in Mogadishu, Somalia where I was. The war started and I was stuck there for about a year,” before his mother found a way to get himself and his siblings out of that country through Ethiopia to Bosaso, a city in the northeastern Bari region of Somalia.

His dad, who was a teacher in Yemen, took them to Yeman where he started school and played soccer “until the age of 14. We won the American Visa Lottery to the US,” where he subsequently became a limo driver.

About two years back, Abdi was selected from an open casting call in Minneapolis, to co-star with Tom Hanks in the ‘Captain Phillips’ movie. He travelled to London and Malta for the shooting and since the film?s release in 2013,?the Somali’s fame has soared..

Asked how he was able to play his role with such agility, Barkhad explained that, “For me it was becoming the character. If you understand the desperations and motivations of the character then you are able to be the character and you are able to show his emotions.”

‘Captain Philips’ highlights one of Africa’s numerous dark sides. With the pressure of being accused of helping paint a dark image for the continent, Barkhad, who also received a Golden Globe nomination for the movie, explained that his focus was on the fact that it was a true story.

“Before I got the part, there [were] a lot of rumors going around in Minneapolis that they are going to embarrass Somali people and this is not the right way to [portray them] but that’s not how I looked at it. To me this is a true story that [happened] and I understand the motivations they have,” the former limo driver said.

He noted that the movie captures a true life situation and added that, if the jobless guy who are struggling to make a living, “sees with his own eyes people [becoming] millionaires [through] piracy, that is more than enough motivation to go all out and take the risk.”

The 86th edition Academy Awards comes off at the Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre on Sunday,?March?2 and win or lose, Barkhad Abdi is already a winner in his own right.

Source Myjoyonline


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