Djimon Hounsou is opening up about the difficulties he’s faced landing roles post-Oscar nominations.
While speaking with The Guardian in an interview published online Thursday, the Shazam! Fury of the Gods actor, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2002 for In America and then again in 2006 for Blood Diamond, said he “felt seriously cheated.”
“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,” he confessed. “It felt like: ‘You should be happy that you’ve got nominated,’ and that’s that.”
Hounsou started to make his name in Hollywood when he landed a role in Steven Spielberg’s 1997 film Amistad. But he explained that he started to grow frustrated with the limited parts that were being offered to Black actors.
To this day, he said he’s “still struggling to try to make a dollar” in the industry. He continued, “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.”
Since his Oscar-nominated films, the majority of the roles Hounsou has played include smaller and bit parts in movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Furious 7, Charlie’s Angels and a handful of projects in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Universe.
“I’ve gone to studios for meetings and they’re like: ‘Wow, we felt like you just got off the boat and then went back [after Amistad]. We didn’t know you were here as a true actor,’” he said. “When you hear things like that, you can see that some people’s vision of you, or what you represent, is very limiting. But it is what it is. It’s up to me to redeem that.”