Minneapolis actor Barkhad Abdi falls short in bid for Oscar


Barkhad Abdi at the Oscars. (photo: Aaron Poole/©A.M.P.A.S.)

First-time Minneapolis actor Barkhad Abdi fell short in his quest for Oscar glory Sunday night at the 86th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

Abdi was up for Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the menacing pirate leader Abduwali Muse in the Best Picture nominee "Captain Phillips." Jared Leto took the statuette for his role in the AIDS drama "Dallas Buyers Club."

"To my fellow nominees, I'm so proud to share this journey with you," Leto said. "I'm in awe and have so much respect for you all."

Abdi took the red carpet by storm as he made his way into the celebration, and was interviewed by the likes of ABC's "Good Morning America" host Lara Spencer and E! Entertainment host Ryan Seacrest.

"Just (being) here, it's unbelievable. It's a dream come true," Abdi told Spencer.

Abdi, famous for his "I'm the captain now" line from "Captain Phillips," had a variation on the line for Seacrest.

Also in the interview, Abdi told the E! host that it was "sophomore year of high school" when he started to get the knack of learning the English language after growing up in Somalia.

"That's when I started listening to a lot of hip-hop," Abdi, 28, told Seacrest. "When you listen to a lot of music, you kind of understand (the language)."

Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres even called out Abdi in her opening monologue, joking about him being a wine expert.

"From Somalia. He is a Sommelier, so he knows a lot about wine," DeGeneres said.

Back in Minnesota, Abdi's family watched the Oscars at a viewing party in Minneapolis, KSTP says. Despite the outcome of the Best Supporting Actor race, Barkhad Abdi's sister, Afifa, said she was "still so proud" of her brother.

"I'm very proud of him," Afifa Abdi told KSTP. "That's my baby!"

Minnesota was also represented at the Oscars by Chanhassen Dinner Theatres alum Amy Adams, who was up for Best Actress for "American Hustle" but lost to Cate Blanchett for "Blue Jasmine"; and Bill Pohlad, one of the producers of the Best Picture winner "12 Years a Slave."

While Pohlad wasn't one of the four producers on the film eligible to win an Oscar, director-producer Steve McQueen thanked him in his acceptance speech.

In addition, "Frozen" won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, earning statuettes for co-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, and producer Peter Del Vecho. The Patriot Ledger says Del Vecho worked at the Guthrie Theater for nine years, and also met his wife while working in Minnesota.

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