SAG nomination goes to Minneapolis actor in 'Captain Phillips'

  • Updated: December 11, 2013 - 6:53 PM
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Chiwetel Ejiofor in a scene from “12 Years A Slave.” The film, directed by Steve McQueen, received four SAG ­nominations, making it a solid Oscar prospect.

Photo: Jaap Buitendijk • Fox Searchlight Films via AP,

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The Screen Actors Guild has honored Somali-born Minneapolis resident Barkhad Abdi with a nomination as best supporting actor for his work in the reality-based piracy drama “Captain Phillips.”

Hollywood oddsmakers consider the first-time actor a likely Oscar competitor when the Academy Award nominations are announced Jan. 16.

Director Paul Greengrass picked Abdi, 28, from an open casting call in a Cedar-Riverside community center, praising his ability to seem “menacing and [to] have a humanity too.” As a raider forced into piracy by desperate poverty, Abdi was alternately fierce and gentle, improvised the film’s unnerving key lines: “Look at me. Look at me. I’m the captain now.”

The first-time actor’s co-star, Tom Hanks, was also nominated in the lead actor category for his work in the film. Abdi’s rivals for the SAG award are Daniel Brühl, for “Rush”; Michael Fassbender, for “12 Years a Slave”; the late James Gandolfini, for “Enough Said” and Jared Leto, for “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Noticeably absent from Wednesday’s SAG lineup was Ethan and Joel Coen’s folk scene-focused dark comedy “Inside Llewyn Davis.” “12 Years a Slave” topped the list with four nominations, including male lead for Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The SAG Awards will be presented Jan. 18.

Colin Covert, AP

Actor Christopher Welch dies of cancer

Christopher Evan Welch, the actor whose roles on New York stages led to a series of film and TV roles, including a regular spot on AMC’s “Rubicon,” has died. His family said in a statement Wednesday that Welch died Dec. 2 in Santa Monica. He was 48 and had been diagnosed with lung cancer. The Dallas-born actor won an Obie Award in 2000 for his performance in “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the New York Theatre Workshop. On television, Welch had roles in “The Sopranos,” “The Good Wife” and the conspiracy-themed drama “Rubicon.” Last year he played a clerk in the House of Representatives in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” Welch is survived by his wife, Emma, and their daughter, June Harper.

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  • Barkhad Abdi of Minneapolis, center, has been nominated by the Screen Actors Guild for best supporting actor for his role in ­“Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks.

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