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DJIMON HOUNSOU (Albert Laurent) was honored with an Academy Award® nomination and won an Independent Spirit Award for his portrayal of Mateo, the loner whose life is changed by his friendship with two young girls, in Jim Sheridan's immigrant tale "In America.” He was also named the 2004 ShoWest Supporting Actor of the Year and was among the "In America” cast members who shared in the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award nomination for Outstanding Cast.

Hounsou had previously received a SAG Award nomination as a part of the cast of Ridley Scott's Oscar®-winning Best Picture "Gladiator,” in which he co-starred with Russell Crowe. Early in his film career, he earned a Golden Globe nomination and won an Image Award for his performance as Cinque, the captured African who leads an uprising to regain his freedom, in Steven Spielberg's historical drama "Amistad.”

Hounsou more recently co-starred in the action thriller "Constantine,” with Keanu Reeves, and then appeared in the comedy "Beauty Shop,” joining an ensemble cast led by Queen Latifah. His additional film credits include Jan de Bont's actioner "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life,” starring Angelina Jolie; "Biker Boyz,” with Laurence Fishburne; Shekhar Kapur's period drama "The Four Feathers,” with Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson; and the thriller "Deep Rising.”

On television, Hounsou had a memorable six-episode arc as an African refugee seeking asylum on the series "ER.” Last season, he had a recurring role as a villain on the ABC series "Alias,” starring Jennifer Garner.

A native of Benin, West Africa, Hounsou moved to Paris when he was 13. At the age of 22, he was discovered by noted fashion designer Thierry Mugler, who enlisted him for several design campaigns, as well as his book Thierry Mugler's Photographs. Hounsou was also one of the late Herb Ritts' subjects in the book Men and Women. He was subsequently spotted by director David Fincher, who cast him in three music videos: Steve Winwood's "Roll With It,” Madonna's "Express Yourself” and Paula Abdul's "Straight Up.” He also appeared in Janet Jackson's video "Love Will Never Do Without You.” Small film parts followed before he landed his first major role in 1997's "Amistad.”

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