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August 30, 2014

First-time actor from Minneapolis attracts Oscar buzz for role in Tom Hanks film

Oscar buzz continues to mount for a first-time actor from Minneapolis for his performance opposite Tom Hanks in the true-life high-seas drama “Captain Phillips.”

Barkhad Abdi — who plays the head Somali pirate Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse in the film based on the 2009 hijacking of Captain Richard Phillips’ freighter, the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama — is being often mentioned as a Best Supporting Actor Oscar contender for his role in the film.

Variety has already listed Abdi as a frontrunner in the category, along with the likes of Matthew McConaughey for “Mud,” Michael Fassbender for “12 Years a Slave” and Harrison Ford for “42.”

The Hollywood Reporter also says the film could earn up to eight Oscar nominations, including one for Abdi.

If Oscar comes calling, Abdi will be the first Somali actor in history to be nominated for an Academy Award.

The Associated Press also puts Abdi in prestigious company by including the actor in its “Fall movies: 10 performances to watch” list. Others on the list include Sandra Bullock for “Gravity,” Robert Redford for “All is Lost” and Oscar Isaac for the Joel and Ethan Coen’s upcoming film, “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

Hitfix said Abdi “stands toe-to-toe with Hanks and delivers a compelling portrait” in the film.

“Billy Ray’s screenplay does some of the work for him, painting Muse with a few more empathetic strokes than you might expect of a film like this, but Abdi, a mild-mannered guy from Minneapolis so believable he feels like a local plucked for the production, is captivating from frame one,” Hitfix says.

Upon the announcement of the screening of the film later this month at the New York Film Festival, the Huffington Post weighed in on Adbi, asking, “Should we add him to the list of possible Best Supporting Actor nominees in 2014?”

“Captain Phillips” opens in theaters Oct. 11.

See Abdi in the trailer for “Captain Phillips” below.