September 20, 2020

Bay Area Emmy spotlight: Hayward’s Mahershala Ali doubles his pleasure

Ali and company at the “We Are the Dream” premiere. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)

The ‘Ramy’ connection: After watching Season 1 of “Ramy,” Ali, who converted to Islam in 2000, reached out to series creator and star Ramy Youssef to express how “brilliant” the show was. The two soon bonded and Youssef recruited Ali to appear in Season 2, playing a mentor on Ramy’s path of self-discovery. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Youssef said it was a “dream scenario” working with Ali, who brought Oscar cred, but no ego, to the project. “I couldn’t have done it with anyone who wasn’t of the composure of him,” Youssef said. “It speaks to just how amazing this dude is, to meet someone who is this Academy Award winner two times over and walks onto the set of a sophomore show and says, ‘What do you want me to do?’ It’s really rare.”

Living the ‘Dream’: The “We Are the Dream” documentary follows students from across Oakland as they prepare their speeches, poems and monologues for an annual competition that honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During

This has been a huge year for TV performers and producers with roots in the Bay Area. Although we have no way of officially quantifying it, we’re pretty sure that, collectively, they’ve collected more Emmy Award nominations than ever before.

To celebrate their achievements, we’re spotlighting local nominees individually during the run-up to the 72nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards telecast on ABC Sept. 20.

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Look for more capsule profiles in the coming days.

Mahershala Ali

Bay Area connection: Born in Oakland and raised in Hayward; Graduated from Mt. Eden High School and Saint Mary’s College, where he transitioned from basketball to the theater; Served a post-college apprenticeship at the California Shakespeare Theater; In 2017, he established a $30,000 Moonlight Scholarship at Saint Mary’s College to benefit students in the school’s High Potential Program.

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Nominated for: Ali is up in two categories — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy for his role as Sheikh Ali Malik on Hulu’s “Ramy.” He is also an executive producer on the HBO documentary “We Are The Dream: Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest,” which is nominated for Outstanding Children’s Program.

The lowdown: After being relegated to mainly low-profile TV and film roles for the first 16 years of his career, Ali finally broke through in a big way in 2017 when he captured an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his quietly powerful portrayal of a soft-hearted drug dealer in “Moonlight.” He followed that up with another Supporting Actor Oscar in 2019 for playing world-renowned pianist Dr. Don Shirley in “Green Book.” Since then, he has been in high demand for film and TV jobs, including his first lead TV role in the third edition of “True Detective.” With his surprising turn in “Ramy,” Ali has demonstrated that he won’t be pigeonholed into only dramatic roles.

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Ali and company at the “We Are the Dream” premiere. (Photo by FilmMagic/FilmMagic for HBO)

The ‘Ramy’ connection: After watching Season 1 of “Ramy,” Ali, who converted to Islam in 2000, reached out to series creator and star Ramy Youssef to express how “brilliant” the show was. The two soon bonded and Youssef recruited Ali to appear in Season 2, playing a mentor on Ramy’s path of self-discovery. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Youssef said it was a “dream scenario” working with Ali, who brought Oscar cred, but no ego, to the project. “I couldn’t have done it with anyone who wasn’t of the composure of him,” Youssef said. “It speaks to just how amazing this dude is, to meet someone who is this Academy Award winner two times over and walks onto the set of a sophomore show and says, ‘What do you want me to do?’ It’s really rare.”

Living the ‘Dream’: The “We Are the Dream” documentary follows students …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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