Here’s exactly how Mahershala Ali became a virtuosic jazz pianist in the space of a few months (hint: he had actually a little help indigenous a real-life virtuosic jazz pianist).

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Mahershala Ali provides a very an excellent impression that being an exceptional jazz pianist in Green Book, the controversial winner the Best snapshot at the 91st Academy Awards.

Ali, that picked increase an Oscar for best Supporting Actor because that his performance, theatre the real-life black composer and also classical and also jazz pianist Don Shirley. The film follows Shirley’s battle with racism throughout his concert tourism of the us Deep south in the early 1960s.

But the actual musicianship originates from Kris Bowers, the especially 29-year-old American composer that wrote the film score because that Green Book and also doubled Ali’s piano playing.

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Mahershala Ali poses in ~ the 91st yearly Academy Awards. Picture: Getty

Bowers, an up-and-coming composer in Hollywood, formerly collaborated through Jay-Z and also Kanye West prior to writing the music because that the Netflix series Dear White People. He has been playing the piano due to the fact that he to be four, and also worked v Ali to boost his posture and movement – not just at the piano, yet throughout his scene in the film.

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“We functioned together for around three months prior to they started shooting,” Bowers told Vulture. “ always said, ‘When girlfriend look in ~ a ballet dancer on the subway, you understand they’re a ballet dancer by just how they’re standing.’ so he want to also look like a pianist when he no at the piano.

“A the majority of it was simply talking around posture and also making sure that the choreography of just how he was play was correct and also all that,” the added. “But in our an initial lesson, we concentrated on simply playing a major scale. We were only an alleged to fulfill for one hour, and also we met for three hours since he to be so glued on play this scale for three hrs straight.”

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Kris Bowers attends The 24th annual Critics' selection Awards. Picture: Getty

Speaking come W Magazine, Ali said: “The goal, honestly, was no to learn just how to pat Chopin in 3 months. That’s no happening. But it to be to offer myself an opportunity to yes, really sit at the piano and also discover exactly how that would inform the rest of my performance.”

Don Shirley, who died on 6 April 2013, to be an especially composer-pianist who wrote symphonies because that the new York Philharmonic and also Philadelphia Orchestra. He additionally wrote a number of piano concertos, 3 string quartets and also a set of 'Variations' top top Offenbach’s opera, Orpheus in the Underworld.

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Ali’s portrayal of Shirley earned that his 2nd Oscar for best Supporting actor in Green Book, after choose up the award in 2017 because that Moonlight. The town hall the film back, Bowers called Vulture he was overwhelmed through Ali’s performance.

“I currently had a the majority of respect for actors in general, but watching just how he had to not only have these lines down and also have the feeling you’re supposed to portray under but likewise to pretend like he’s play this tool at times or need to do every this physical stuff the he’s not comfortable doing, but looks like he’s been doing it forever, to be pretty impressive.”