The American actor graduated from a theatre university programme and then moved to New York. At the start of his career, he was double-cast in Biloxi Blues, an autobiographical play by the famous playwright Neil Simon. His first bigger success came with the role of bartender Woody in the Cheers series, which earned him an Emmy and an American Comedy Award for the Funniest Newcomer. He gradually established himself in the early 1990s thanks to roles in Money Train, Indecent Proposal, and Natural Born Killers. The groundbreaking moment of his career came in 1996 when he was cast as the eponymous porn tycoon in Miloš Forman's The eople vs Larry Flint. His performance earned him nominations for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for the Best Actor. He was then nominated for the same awards for his supporting role of Captain Tony Stone in The Messenger (2009), the directing debut of screenwriter Oren Moverman. The film premiered at Sundance and won a Silver Bear at Berlinale. Two years later, he worked with Oren Moverman again when he got the lead role in the crime drama Rampart (2011) which was nominated for a Golden Shell at the San Sebastian festival. His most recent success came in 2018 when he again received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations, this time for the supporting role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The film was presented at the Venice IFF and won an Audience Award at the Toronto IFF.
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