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Oscars have MN connections

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St. Louis Park natives Joel and Ethan Coen may have been shut out of the Oscars, but there were still a few Minnesota connections among this year’s nominees.

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The biggest is, of course, Barkhad Abdi, who went from working in his brother’s cellphone store in Minneapolis to co-starring in a movie with Tom Hanks, who was nominated for best supporting actor for that film, “Captain Phillips.” He had never acted but heard about local auditions for “Captain Phillips” from a TV advertisement and, as he told the Pioneer Press, “They were coming so close. They were coming to my neighborhood. And it’s Tom Hanks. So why not?”

Abdi said Thursday he couldn’t get to sleep the night before the Oscar nominations announcement, so he stayed up until the announcement, just before 6 a.m. in Los Angeles.

“We started screaming up and down,” said Abdi, 28, who watched the announcement with a buddy and then immediately called to tell his sister, Afifa, and the rest of his family in Minneapolis.

Then, he said he did so many interviews that he lost his voice.

Other Minnesota Oscar connections include:

  • Amy Adams, a Colorado native who earned her first taste of show biz success in mid-’90s productions at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and in the Minnesota-shot “Drop Dead Gorgeous” (1998) was nominated for best actress for “American Hustle.”
  • Melisa Wallack, nominated for best screenplay for “The Dallas Buyers Club,” is a native of Wayzata who ran a documents-management company in Los Angeles before she made the transition to screenwriting seven years ago.

One other thing that connects those three nominees: All were cited for movies that are based on true stories.

Minneapolis-based producer Bill Pohlad’s “12 Years a Slave” was nominated for nine Oscars, including best picture, which is awarded to a film’s producers.

Pohlad did not earn a nomination, though, because “12 Years” had seven producers but Oscar rules allow only five to be nominated per film.

The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.

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Forum News Service
The Forum Communications News Service is the premier news wire service covering the Upper Midwest, stretching from the oilfields of western North Dakota to the plains of South Dakota and to the shores of eastern Minnesota. For more information about the services we offer or to discuss content subscriptions, please contact us.
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