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Brian Tyree Henry of Fayetteville nominated for an Oscar


Brian Tyree Henry, who has Fayetteville ties, was announced Tuesday as the Best Supporting Actor nominee at the 95th Academy Awards.

Henry gained recognition for his role in Causeway, in which he plays James, a New Orleans auto mechanic who experiences personal loss and befriends Lynsey, a recovering soldier played by Jennifer Lawrence.

More:Fayetteville native Brian Tyree Henry on Jimmy Kimmel and showing off the EE Smith band

Here are the answers to four questions about the Fayetteville Oscar nominee.

What are Henry’s connections in Fayetteville?

Henry is a graduate of EE Smith High School, where he performed with the EE Smith Performance Troupe, a singing and dancing group called “Smith 16” led by now-retired music teacher Sharon McNair.

More:From The Road to Everything Everywhere, where can you watch these 15 Oscar-nominated films now?

In 1998, Henry, then 16 years old, told The Fayetteville Observer that he was “shaking and shaking” when he first performed in front of an audience.

“Mrs. McNair said, ‘Go and give it your all. You know the routine.’

More:The Fayetteville-raised actor appeared in short films prior to No.

Henry also played in The Magnificent Marching Machine.

In 2016, he told Interview magazine, “I was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where (rap artist) J. Cole is from. I went to Washington D.C. where my mother moved to stay with her and then returned to North Carolina to finish high school and high school.”

What is his previous work before “Causeway”?

Henry played Alfred “Paper Boy” Miles on the hit FX show Atlanta, a role for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award. He also voiced Jefferson Davis, the father of protagonist Miles in the animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

He had several film, television and stage roles and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Broadway revival play, The Lobby Hero.

What else can you tell me about him?

Henry told Interview magazine that he was raised by a retired military father and an educator mother. He is the only son in a family with four older sisters who were teenagers when he was born.

Of his mother, Henry said: “She was incredibly creative. I used to love going to her school in the summer and helping her decorate the classroom.”

Unfortunately, his mother, Willow Dean Kears, died in a car accident in 2016.

Henry graduated from Morehouse College, a historically black school, where he began acting in his second year. He received his master’s degree from the Yale School of Drama.

What did he say about his role in Causeway?

Henry is already a winner for Causeway. He won Best Supporting Actor at the Critics Choice Association of Black Cinema and Television Awards.

He told Variety earlier this month that the role helped him weaken the defenses he had built between himself and his characters.

“And it seems strange,” he told the magazine. “But it also seems necessary, because then there is concern about what people want from me, not about what they want from me. It really touches me every day.”

Myron B. Pitts can be contacted at [email protected] or by phone at 910-486-3559.

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