Barkhad Abdi May Be An Oscar Nominee, But He Did Not Become RichBy: Tobias Roth - March 5, 2014
Anyone that has been following the recent awards season is clearly aware of the name Barkhad Abdi, the Somali-American actor who became a household name through his role in Captain Phillips.
Despite the fact that he was nominated for every major award, including the Oscars, for his best supporting actor role in the film, Barkhad Abdi is struggling to make ends meet after only making $65,000 for the film.
The film, which was also nominated for Best Picture, focuses on the real life Captain Phillips, played by Tom Hanks, and the historic event when his American ship was taken over by Somali pirates. Abdi plays the leader of the pirates that attempt to overthrow the ship, and has become well-known for his line when he says “I’m the captain now.”
Captain Phillips made $55 million at the box office, yet Barkhad Abdi was paid only a small fraction of that, and is currently broke, being forced to live off of his per diem payments. In the weeks leading up to the Oscars, a Somali cabdriver was driving him around for free, and the clothes that he wore to the big events were on loan.
However, he has said that he plans to move to Los Angeles, hoping to further his film career. He already has another role set for the film The Place That Hits The Sun, which follows famous South African marathoner Willie Mtolo.
As most people are probably aware by now, it was his first film, and before shooting Captain Philips, Abdi was working as a limousine driver. He had an idea that Captain Phillips would become a huge hit, and decided to quit his job on the day that the film premiered.
Barkhad Abdi spoke about his debut film when saying “How I thought about it was like, ‘When the movie came out reviews either gonna be good or bad. Either way, I cannot be working here.”
Following the completion of the film, he returned to Minneapolis to work for his brother again, and this time he was selling mobile phones. Captain Phillips filmed more than two years ago, despite its recent release, and his low salary has not given him much to live off of.
Barkhad Abdi may have achieved mainstream success in terms of being known, but he still does not have the riches to show for it. He won the BAFTA, but lost every other award of the season to Jared Leto, winning multiple awards for his role in Dallas Buyers Club.
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