Billy Bob Thornton acted regularly in TV and film (plus co-wrote the acclaimed low-budget thriller “One False Move”) before he hit pay dirt by writing, directing and starring in the 1996 independent drama “Sling Blade.” The sleeper hit earned Thornton an Academy Award for adapted screenplay as well as Oscar and Screen Actors Guild award nominations for his performance as the mentally challenged Karl Childers.
Thornton went on to roles in such features as “The Apostle,” “Primary Colors,” “Armageddon” and the crime drama “A Simple Plan,” the latter earning him Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award nominations for supporting actor.
He returned to directing with the 2000 feature adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel “All the Pretty Horses,” which starred Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz.
In 2001, Thornton turned in an eclectic trio of strong performances in the Coen brothers’ “The Man Who Wasn’t There” and Barry Levinson’s “Bandits” (Golden Globe nomination for each) along with the acclaimed “Monster’s Ball,” in which he played a racist prison guard.
Thornton remained a regular presence in features throughout the decade in dramas (“The Alamo,” “Friday Night Lights,” “The Astronaut Farmer”) and in comedies both light (“Love Actually,” the “Bad News Bears” remake) and dark (“Bad Santa,” “The Ice Harvest,” “Mr. Woodcock”).
The notably tattooed actor, who is also an accomplished musician, has been married and divorced five times, most famously to actress Angelina Jolie. He has four children.
— Gary Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times
|1996||Best Actor||Sling Blade||Nomination|
|1996||Best Adapted Screenplay||Sling Blade||Win|
|1998||Best Supporting Actor||A Simple Plan||Nomination|