Riddle me this: When does an actor truly declare that he has arrived in Hollywood? Does she/he have to star in a $100 million film? Or do they have to win an Oscar for their performance? Or do they have to star in a Disney/Marvel film or show?
Because the fact of the matter is, Mahershala Ali has done all that and much, much more and is yet to be recognised as an established actor today.
Touted to win a second Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category in 2019 for his performance in Green Book, starring opposite Viggo Mortensen, Ali has now established himself as a highly bankable performer.
Ali, who launched an album by the name of Curb Side Service in 2007 under the name of Prince Ali, chose not to promote that album and focus on his acting career instead.
Mahershala Ali – The man who made his own destiny
Mahershala Ali, whose given name is Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore, was raised as a devout Christian as his mother wanted but in 2000 he converted to Islam. At the same time, he changed his surname from Gilmore to Ali, a move he admitted has caused a lot of problems for him post 9/11.
In a candid interview with Vanity Fair in 2016, he expressly clarified why he chose to shorten his name: “I think if you have any desire to be a leading man or to really carry some of these stories, there’s this relationship that has to be cultivated with an audience. People have to be able to say your name. I didn’t want a couple of syllables to get in the way of me having the fullest experience as an actor.”
Ali became the first Muslim actor to ever win a Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in 2016’s Moonlight, where he played a drug dealer. He was also nominated for the Golden Globes and the Critic’s Choice Awards for Best Supporting Actor that year for the same role.
He has been nominated for the second time in the same category for an Oscar in 2019 for his performance in Green Book. At the time this article was written, he had already won the Golden Globe and BAFTA for his performance but results were awaited for the announcement of the Oscars.
Mahershala Ali is touching our lives through television
Ali first broke into our lives with his stellar performance in the science fiction show The 4400 and then began to make a place in our hearts with Cornell ‘Cottonmouth’ Stokes in Marvel’s Luke Cage and cemented that place with the role of Detective Wayne Hays from True Detective Season 3.
But his most notable run or rather his most famous role was in Netflix’s popular show House of Cards where he starred with Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. He was a part of the show from 2013 to 2016 and received immense critical acclaim for playing the role of Remy Danton.
In a career spanning less than a decade now, Ali has established himself to be a household name because of his choices to play character driven roles in television series. Though he has starred in critically acclaimed roles, he
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