Mahershala Ali – his path to second Oscar nomination

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Mahershala Ali (PA)

Mahershala Ali got his big break starring in television series The 4400, but it was his Oscar-winning turn in 2016 film Moonlight that really made him a household name.

Now, just three years after scooping the best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of a drug dealer in the film, he is in the running for the award once again – this time with Green Book.

Ali, 44, originally looked set for a career in sports after winning a basketball scholarship to college.

But he developed an interest in acting and in 2001 he was cast as Dr Trey Sanders in crime drama Crossing Jordan.

From there he racked up several television credits including CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, NYPD Blue and Threat Matrix.

But it was starring as Richard Tyler in sci-fi hit The 4400 that really put him on the map.

Mahershala Ali with his Oscar
Mahershala Ali with his Oscar (PA)

The popular series ran from 2004 to 2007 and proved to be a springboard for Ali’s film career.

In the years following the show, he was cast in movies such as The Place Beyond The Pines and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.

Then in 2016, he was cast in coming-of-age drama Moonlight.

Hit performance as Juan, a dealer who becomes a father figure to main character Chiron, made Hollywood sit up and take notice and he won a slew of accolades, including the Oscar, the Critics Choice Award and a London Film Critics Circle gong.

Ali followed up Moonlight with Hidden Figures, a drama about the black female mathematicians who worked at Nasa during the Space Race, and the drama Roxanne Roxanne.

His latest film, Green book, sees Ali once again in the race for best supporting actor at the Oscars.

Ali plays jazz musician Dr Don Shirley, who takes a concert tour through the segregated US Deep South in the 1960s.

The film has already proved to be a hit with critics and audiences, and Ali has already won the Bafta and the Golden Globe for his performance.

His success has not been limited to the big screen, and Ali has continued to impress in television roles.

He is currently starring in the third series of anthology crime drama True Detective, playing a detective investigating the disappearance of two children.

He recently told Esquire UK: “It’s just a massive role, expansive. It checks so many boxes for me as an actor, that in terms of TV, it doesn’t get better.”

The 91st Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on February 24.

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