6 Minnesota Connections to the Oscars

Updated: 03/03/2014 12:55 AM
Created: 03/02/2014 9:38 AM
By: Megan Stewart

What do a Somali-born actor who played a pirate in his first movie role, actress Amy Adams, a producer for "12 Years a Slave," a designer shoe company, and vodka have in common?

All are representing Minnesota in some way or another at the Oscars on Sunday night.

Barkhad Abdi, of Minneapolis, was up for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Captain Phillips." Abdi, along with three other amateur actors from Minnesota, portray Somali pirates who hijack an American cargo ship off the Horn of Africa in 2009 and take its captain, played by Tom Hanks, hostage. Abdi is the pirates' ringleader. Jared Leto won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his performance as an HIV-positive transgender prostitute in "Dallas Buyers Club."

Adams, who was nominated for Best Actress for her role as a con artist in "American Hustle," got her show business break while performing in the Chanhassen Dinner Theater between 1996 and 1999, according to the theater's website.

Bill Pohlad, the founder of Minneapolis's River Road Entertainment, co-produced "12 Years a Slave." He previously won a Best Picture Oscar for "Brokeback Mountain," which he also produced. His family owns the Minnesota Twins, among other enterprises.

Two Minnesota-based companies were represented in the $55,000 Oscar swag bags given to celebrities. Designer shoe label Max Martin and AVIV 613 Vodka, both of Minneapolis, were in the bags.

Earlier last month, 71-year-old Peter Anderson, of Eau Claire, Wis., was honored for his technological contributions to the industry. Anderson is considered an innovator in cinematography and visual effects and worked on "Tron" and the 1998 version of "Godzilla."

Amy Adams arrives at the 86th Oscars Nominees Luncheon, in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 10.
Photo: AP/Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, file
Bill Pohlad founded River Road Entertainment, which has produced movies like
Photo: IMDb
Barkhad Abdi, left, and Tom Hanks pose in the audience at the 25th annual Producers Guild of America (PGA) Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 19, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Photo: Invision for Producers Guild/John Shearer

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