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According to a new article in the A.V. Club, Barkhab Abdi, who just came off his Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Oscars, is flat broke.

Here is an excerpt (full article here):

Abdimade just $65,000 for his supporting role as Abduwali Muse, the real-life Somali pirate who hijacked the Maersk Alabama in 2009—and that payday was over two years ago. Meanwhile, the Tom Hanks-starring film grossed $107 million in theaters, off of its budget of $55 million.

Though he's received numerous accolades for his work, including a nod from the Academy and a BAFTA, Abdi has yet to find work in the post-Phillips world. Abdi worked as a livery cab driver before the film; after filming, he sold mobile phones in his hometown of Cedar-Riverside, a neighborhood in Minneapolis. The clothes he's been wearing on publicity tours (including, presumably, his suit at the Oscars) are loaners from the studio, Columbia Pictures, while he's been living off a per diem that's good at the Beverly Hilton Hotel it puts him up in, and relying on a studio town car to get to his various events.

[Abdi] plans to move to Los Angeles and live with Faysal Ahmed, his co-star.


The fact that Abdi has been having such a hard time finding work, despite being so talented, is very disappointing. While many have been expressing concerns that the gorgeous and enormously talented Lupita may have a hard time finding work in the inhospitable and often racist field that is Hollywood, I have been very concerned for Abdi. While I admit that Lupita does face many real challenges in this new transition (that I hope she is able to overcome), she has many advantages that Abdi does not. She has her Oscar, her education, her beauty, her monetary resources, and her new "it girl" status.

While I do not personally find Abdi unattractive, he is certainly not the conventional "hunky" type that often gets leads roles (e.g. Idris Elba, Channing Tatum, and the Hemsworth brothers). He is also a complete outsider to the film industry, as he was recruited explicitly for this role. He has no formal training and limited connections outside those he made on the set of Captain Phillips.

While the film may be a bit controversial, I loved Captain Phillips, mainly because of the performances given by Abdi and his "pirate" co-stars. They humanized these men, gave them depth and meaning beyond what was in the text (a claim the man who beat him may not be able to make). The most famous line of the film, "I'm the captain now", was improvised by Abdi. He is enormously talented, and I am hoping that this will not be the last we see of him.


(Picture via AV club)

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