Bay Area filmmakers, actors nominated for Oscars

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized some local Bay Area talent Tuesday morning.

MORE: Full list of 2017 Oscar nominations

Oakland native Mahershala Ali was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Moonlight, and Cal graduate Daphne Matziaraki was nominated for Best Documentary.

"This is my first film, and it was initially my thesis film for the U.C. Berkeley School of Journalism," Matziaraki told ABC7 News. The short documentary 4.1 Miles became much more than that.

MORE: Stars react to Oscar nominations

Matziaraki woke up to a call from her sister in Barcelona. The documentary about a Greek Coast Guard captain tasked with rescuing Syrian refugees was already an award-winning film, but now it's nominated for an Oscar.

"The academy is recognizing the importance of this story," Matziaraki said.

The Bay Area has another Oscar nominee whose story also started on a college campus - this one at St. Mary's.

Mahershala Ali - nominated for best supporting actor - was in Denise Witzig's freshman writing class.

"He was very expressive with words," Witzig said.

Speaking at last year's commencement, he told graduates how he found his calling. "I felt alive with a sense of purpose that I hadn't yet to experience."

Click the viewer above to see Jonathan's full report.

Watch the 89th Oscars hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on Sunday, February 26 at 7 p.m. ET | 4 p.m. PT on ABC.
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