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BLOOD DIAMOND

DJIMON HOUNSOU (Solomon Vandy) 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 shared in the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award nomination for Outstanding Cast Performance received by the "In America” cast.

Early in his film career, Hounsou earned a Golden Globe Award nomination and won an Image Award for his performance as Cinque, the African who leads an uprising to regain his freedom, in Steven Spielberg's historical drama "Amistad.” He later shared in a SAG Award nomination as a part of the cast of Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning Best Picture "Gladiator.”

In 2005, Hounsou starred in three films: Michael Bay's futuristic actioner "The Island,” with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson; the thriller "Constantine,” starring Keanu Reeves; and the comedy "Beauty Shop,” joining an ensemble cast led by Queen Latifah. His additional film credits include Jan de Bont's "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life,” starring Angelina Jolie; Shekhar Kapur's "The Four Feathers,” with Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson; and "Deep Rising.”

On television, Hounsou had a memorable six-episode arc as an African refugee seeking asylum on the drama series "ER,” and more recently had a recurring role on the series "Alias,” starring Jennifer Garner.

Born in Benin, West Africa, Hounsou moved to Paris at the age of 13 to get a better education. As an adult, he was discovered by fashion designer Thierry Mugler, and then worked with legendary photographer Herb Ritts. Hounsou was subsequently spotted by director David Fincher, who cast him in several music videos. Small film roles followed before Hounsou landed his breakthrough role in 1997's "Amistad.”

In addition to his role in "Blood Diamond,” Hounsou also stars this December in the fantasy adventure "Eragon.”

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