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Barkhad Abdi: From Mpls. Limo Driver To Oscar Nominated Actor

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(credit: CBS) Mike Binkley
Mike Binkley has been covering Minnesota news for more than 25 year...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota will be well represented at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.

Best Picture nominee “12 Years a Slave” was produced by Bill Pohlad. Minnesota native Melisa Wallack co-wrote “Dallas Buyers Club”, which is up for Best Screenplay.

Best Actress nominee Amy Adams performed at Chanhassen Dinner Theaters from 1996-1999 as her acting career was just beginning.

But most notable is former Minneapolis limo driver Barkhad Abdi, who was discovered by the producers of “Captain Phillips”. Abdi, who had never acted before, is nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

Abdi’s long-time friend Mohamud Noor said it’s been overwhelming to see him become a movie star in such a short period of time.

“As an immigrant who came here as a child to grow up and get this opportunity, it’s [an] amazing story,” Noor said.

It started two years ago, when local Somalis answered a casting call, at the Brian Coyle Center in Minneapolis.

Abdi beat out hundreds for the part.

He has also earned nominations for a Golden Globe and a SAG award from the Screen Actors Guild.

Congratulations poured in Thursday on Twitter, where Abdi posted simply “Oscar nominated actor.”

“This is the American dream,” Noor said. “So he’s going to be more inspiration to so many young kids in this neighborhood and also the whole city.”

Abdi is competing against Bradley Cooper, Jonah Hill, Michael Fassbender, and Jared Leto.

Fassbender and Leto have never been nominated for an Oscar before either, but their film careers are obviously much longer.

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