MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Best Supporting Actor award went to Sam Rockwell at the 90th Academy Awards held on Sunday, March 4 (Monday, March 5, Manila time).
Sam Rockwell was awarded for his performance in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, winning over co-star Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project), Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), and Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World).
The Oscar is Rockwell’s first. In his acceptance speech, Rockwell thanked his fellow nominees, saying “You guys rock, you inspire me, and you always have.”
Martin McDonagh’s black comedy Three Billboards tells the story of a grieving mother at the end of her tether over the failure by local police to capture the man who raped and killed her daughter 12 months earlier.
Rockwell plays emotionally-stunted Jason Dixon, a racist, violent sheriff’s deputy who deals with his inner rage by drinking himself into a stupor every night and picking fights at the local bar.
Rockwell was the odds-on favorite for the statuette, having already scooped a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for the performance.
Born on November 5, 1968 in Daly City, California, the child of actors Pete Rockwell and Penny Hess, Rockwell started out life in New York but spent most of his childhood in San Francisco with his father after his parents separated.
His acting break came when he was still in high school, with a part in Victor Salva’s 1989 indie horror comedy Clownhouse as one of three young brothers terrorized by three escaped mental patients disguised as clowns.
Rockwell graduated from high school and began taking guest spots in TV series such as NYPD Blue and Law and Order, as well as stage work in New York while training at the William Esper Studio.
Strapped for cash, he juggled acting with a string of part-time jobs as a restaurant bus boy, a burrito delivery cyclist and even a private investigator’s assistant.
“I tailed a chick who was having an affair and took pictures of her at this motel. It was pretty sleazy,” he recalled in a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone.
By the mid-1990s, he had begun securing movie roles, including an acclaimed performance as a chaotic eccentric in Tom DiCillo’s Box of Moon Light, opposite John Turturro and Catherine Keener.
A starring role as an outcast who works as a landscape gardener for the rich in fantasy drama Lawn Dogs further bolstered Rockwell’s reputation as he began picking up trophies on the awards circuit.
The actor gave strong performances in a string of hits over the following years, including as space adventurer Zaphod Beeblebrox in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and as David Frost’s passionate Watergate adviser in Frost/Nixon.
He was considered for the part of the title character in Iron Man before losing out to Robert Downey Jr but appeared in the sequel, as Tony Stark’s rival weapons developer, Justin Hammer.
His most recent movies include Eric Bowen’s 2015 remake of horror classic Poltergeist, McDonagh’s previous movie Seven Psychopaths and Jon Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens.
He will play former president George W. Bush opposite Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay’s upcoming Backseat, set for release late this year.
The awards ceremony is being held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California. –with reports from the Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com
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