Who is Mahershala Ali? Academy Awards 2017 Best Supporting Actor nominee and Luke Cage’s Cottonmouth – all you need to know

MAHERSHALA ALI has been hotly tipped to bag an Oscar at the 89th Academy Awards this weekend?

But who is he? Where would you know him from? And what film is he getting acclaim for?

Here’s everything you need to know about the star…

Mahershala has been nominated for Best Supporting actor at the Oscars
Getty Images - WireImage

Who is Mahershala Ali?

Mahershala Ali, born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore, is a 43-year-old actor who lives in Oakland, California.

He has worked as an actor for the past fourteen years, after initially pursuing a career in basketball.

After gaining a scholarship at St Mary’s College of California in the sport.

Mahershala is married to wife Amatus Sami-Karim, and is a practising Muslim after being raised by an ordained Christian minister mother.

The actor has been awards the SAG Award for his role in Moonlight
Getty Images - WireImage

Where would I have seen Mahershala Ali before?

Mahershala’s breakthrough film role was in 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which he starred in alongside Brad Pitt.

Since then, he has been a prolific actor on both the big and small screens, taking roles in a string of highly-acclaimed films and TV shows.

In TV, these include Remy Danton in House of Cards, Richard Tyler in The 4400 and on-off parts in CSI, NYPD Blue and Law and Order.

The star takes on the role of Juan, who takes care of young Chiron in the beginning of the film
AP:Associated Press

In film, he has been seen as Boggs in the final two instalments of the Hunger Games franchise, thriller Predators and 2016’s Hidden Figures, which has been nominated for Best Film in this year’s Oscars.

Most recently, he has been seen as Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes in Netflix’s adaptation of Marvel comic-book Luke Cage.

He is now nominated for an Oscar for his role as kind-hearted drug-dealer Juan in the critically acclaimed 2016 film, Moonlight.

What is the film Moonlight about and who stars in it?

Moonlight is an indie movie based on a semi-autobiographical play written by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

It is a three part story telling the tale of Chiron, checking in on his life as a child, a teen and an adult.

The film follows Chiron’s attempts to adapt to the world in which he lives, dealing with a drug addicted mother and coming to terms with his sexuality.

The tender role has earned him a string of accolades this Award Season

Mahershala’s character Juan becoming a surrogate father figure for Chiron as an infant, and his home becomes a safe space for while his mother struggles with addiction.

Naomie Harris has been widely praised for the role of Chiron’s mother, and also stars Janelle Monae.

Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Travante Rhodes take on the three ages of Chiron.

What are the Academy Awards and when are they this year?

The 89th Academy Awards are an annual ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Most people in the entertainment industry consider the show, dubbed the Oscars after the man-shaped statuette awarded to winners, to be the highest honour you can receive for your work in film.

Low-budget film Moonlight generates Oscar buzz after four Golden Globe noms

This year’s Oscars will be hosted at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California this Sunday, February 26, starting at 4pm PST (which is midnight in the UK).

Late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel has been announced as this year’s compère.


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