Actor Djimon Hounsou speaks out about career struggles and feeling cheated by Hollywood

Djimon Hounsou is a talented actor who has made a name for himself in Hollywood. His impressive career started with a memorable role in Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad”, but as Hounsou recently revealed in an interview with The Guardian, “I still have to prove why I need to get paid, they always come at me with a complete low ball: ‘We only have this much for the role, but we love you so much and we really think you can bring so much.” The actor believes that had his films been released today, he would have already won an Oscar.

“I felt seriously cheated,” the actor said. “Today, we talk so much about the Oscars being so white, but I remember there was a time where I had no support at all: no support from my own people, no support from the media, from the industry itself. It felt like: ‘You should be happy that you’ve got nominated,’ and that’s that.”

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“Maybe I was early. If my movies had come out today, I definitely would have gotten an Oscar already.” Hounsou was overlooked for his incredible performance in Amistad and Anthony Hopkins was nominated instead. He got a supporting nod for Blood Diamond, even though the movie was focused on his character and the studio campaign for DiCaprio, who got a nomination for Best Actor instead of him.

“I’m still struggling to try to make a dollar!” Hounsou noted. “I’ve come up in the business with some people who are absolutely well off and have very little of my accolades. So I feel cheated, tremendously cheated, in terms of finances and in terms of the workload as well.”

“Viola Davis said it beautifully: she’s won an Oscar, she’s won an Emmy, she’s won a Tony (and, as of Feb. 5, a GRAMMY) and she still can’t get paid,” he continued. “Film after film, it’s a struggle. I have yet to meet the film that paid me fairly.”

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“Out of them all, the DC universe has a level of respect,” he says. “There wasn’t much to the role at first and I did it and it was fun. But the second time around it was a little more respectful.”

“From time to time, (Hollywood) themselves make the point of saying: ‘We should give him more, he’s a little underappreciated.’ I think they recognize that themselves,” he says, before brushing it off. “Hey, it’s the struggle I have to overcome!”

Despite his struggles, Hounsou has still managed to build an impressive resume over the years, with roles in blockbuster franchise films including “Captain Marvel”, “Furious 7”, “The King’s Man”, and “A Quiet Place Part II”. However, the actor remains frustrated by the fact that his accolades would have been even greater had he won those awards. It’s a shame that his talent and hard work have not been fully recognized, but hopefully, things will start to change in the future, and talented actors like Hounsou will have more opportunities to shine.