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TERRENCE HOWARD (Detective Sean Mercer) was honored with an Academy Award nomination last year for his performance in Craig Brewer's 2005 urban drama "Hustle & Flow,” produced by John Singleton. Howard's portrayal of a pimp trying to break into the rap music business also brought him Golden Globe, Critics' Choice, Independent Spirit and Image Award nominations. In addition, he won a Critics' Choice Award for the film's title song, and the song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” which Howard performs in "Hustle & Flow,” won the Oscar for Best Song.

Also in 2005, Howard starred in Paul Haggis' Oscar-winning Best Picture "Crash,” for which he won an Image Award and earned another Critics' Choice Award nomination. Additionally, Howard shared in dual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award nominations in the category of Outstanding Motion Picture Cast as part of the ensemble casts of both "Crash” and "Hustle & Flow.” The National Board of Review also singled him out with their award for Best Breakthrough Performance for his work in those films, as well as Jim Sheridan's "Get Rich or Die Tryin'.” Howard also won the New Generation Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Breakthrough Awards from the Florida and Washington, DC Film Critics Associations, and the Rising Star Award at the 2006 Palm Springs International Film Festival.

Howard also enjoyed a banner year on the small screen in 2005, starring in two of the year's most heralded telefilms, HBO's "Lackawanna Blues,” for which he won an Image Award, and "Their Eyes Were Watching God,” presented by Oprah Winfrey. His previous television work includes the telefilms "Boycott,” for which he earned an Image Award nomination, and "Mama Flora's Family,” with Cicely Tyson.

Howard most recently starred in "Pride,” which he also executive produced, and "Idlewild.” He also stars in a number of upcoming films, including "August Rush,” with Robin Williams, Freddie Highmore, Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers; "The Hunting Party,” with Richard Gere; and "Iron Man,” based on the Marvel comic book hero, in which he stars with Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges under the direction of Jon Favreau.

Howard's love for acting came naturally through summers spent with his grandmother, New York stage actress Minnie Gentry. He began his own acting career with a guest role on "The Cosby Show” after being discovered on a New York City street by a casting director. His early film work includes the Hughes brothers' "Dead Presidents” and Stephen Herek's "Mr. Holland's Opus.”

Howard won his first Image Award and earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his role in 1999's "The Best Man.” His other film credits include "Big Momma's House,” Luis Mandoki's "Angel Eyes,” Gregory Hoblit's "Hart's War,” John Singleton's "Four Brothers,” and Taylor Hackford's award winning biopic "Ray,” for which Howard shared in a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Motion Picture Cast.

A self-taught musician, Howard plays both the piano and the guitar and is also a singer/songwriter.

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