Exactly two years ago, in early 2017, the actor Mahershala Ali and his wife were about to give birth – one after the other. “It’s something we still joke about,” says the 44-year-old American, sitting in a London hotel, smiling at the memory. “My wife was pregnant with a baby. And I was pregnant with an Oscar.”
The actor knows that sounds glib. He knows that however exciting or worked-for an industry prize – Ali won his best supporting actor award that year for a standout performance in the coming-of-age drama Moonlight – nothing compares to the graft of bearing an actual child. But aspects of the comparison stand. There’s a lot of build-up and then things go crazy all at once. Taking home a newborn, like taking home an Oscar, turns life on its head. And forget about sleep. Ali’s wife, the artist Amatus Sami-Karim, gave birth to their daughter, Bari, that February, and 100 frazzled hours later Ali was on stage at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, looking blinky and delighted, and bringing an audience of grandees to their feet when he croaked: “I just wanna thank my wife.”
Week - Everything - Ali - Guy - Actor
It was a week that changed everything for Ali. Until then he’d been an auxiliary guy, a well-thought-of actor who didn’t often get his name on the posters and who was probably best known for his regular appearances in Netflix’s House Of Cards. Ali had a fun if slightly underwritten role as the Washington fixer Remy Danton, a job he quit when the show was at its peak – wanting to take one last shot at becoming a leading actor before it was too late. Moonlight, in which he was a taciturn drug dealer, a character who appeared only fleetingly but whose presence hung over the whole movie, suggested Ali had...
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