Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”) and John David Washington (“BlacKkKlansman”) have catapulted into the awards season conversation with two searing films about race in America. Both movies are based on true stories. Ali, who won the supporting actor Oscar in 2017 for “Moonlight,” portrays Dr. Don Shirley, an acclaimed black pianist embarking on a tour of the Deep South at the height of Jim Crow. Washington, the son of Denzel, plays Ron Stallworth, a black detective tasked with infiltrating the KKK. Their turns, alternately fiery and funny, have received rave reviews. The two men had an honest and raw conversation about what drew them to the projects.

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