Djimon Hounsou, who is nominated for a best supporting actorAcademy Award for his role in In America, has been named ShoWest 2004 Supporting Actor of the Year.

"Ittakes a very special actor to create a character as complex as Mateo [in InAmerica]," ShoWest co-managingdirector Mitch Neuhauser said in a statement.

"Djimon Hounsou was a true joyto watch in In America and we could not be more excited about honouring hisperformance with the ShoWest 2004 Supporting Actor of the Year Award.

"It's always special to be able to screen a film at ShoWest wellin advance of its release date and to have it go on to receive such criticaland commercial success. Such is the case with In America and we thank Fox Searchlight for givingus this opportunity in 2003."

Hounsou emigrated from his native Benin to Paris at the age of 13and was discovered by the fashion designer Thierry Muglar.

He starred in several television commercials directed by DavidFincher and eventually moved to Los Angeles, where he taught himself to speakEnglish and graduated to feature films.

Hounsou receiveda Golden Globe nomination in 1998 for his breakout role in Stephen Spielberg's Amistad and his other credits include Gladiator,The Four Feathers and LaraCroft: Tomb Raider. Heis currently working on the sci-fi thriller Constantine for Warner Bros.