Not too long ago, even East Bay residents might have been forgiven for saying “Mahershala who?” when reading about the names of possible contenders for 2016 Academy Awards.

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One of the names frequently popping up in Hollywood trade stories was Mahershala Ali. The 43-year-old was born in Oakland and raised in Hayward. He went to St. Mary’s College in Moraga on a basketball scholarship but became enamored of theater while performing in student productions.

After graduating in 1996, he performed with the California Shakespeare Festival in Orinda before earning a master’s degree from New York University and toiling for more than a decade in a variety of increasingly prominent TV and film roles (“House of Cards,” “Luke Cage” and “Hidden Figures”) before getting his big break this past year as the savvy but compassionate drug dealer Juan in Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight.”

For his powerful performance in …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

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