1. He has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and two Academy Awards.
2. Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Bénin, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook. He emigrated to Lyon in France at the age of thirteen with his brother, Edmond.
3. Soon after arriving in France, Hounsou dropped out of school and became homeless for a time.
4. A chance meeting with a photographer led to Hounsou being introduced to fashion designer Thierry Mugler, who encouraged Hounsou to pursue a modeling career. In 1987, Hounsou became a model and established a career in Paris.
5. He had television parts on Beverly Hills, 90210 and ER and a guest starring role on Alias.
6. Hounsou captured a larger role in the science fiction film Stargate.
7. Hounsou received wide critical acclaim and a Golden Globe Award nomination for his role as Cinqué in the 1997 Steven Spielberg film Amistad.
8. He gained further notice as Juba in the 2000 film Gladiator. In 2004, Hounsou was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for In America, making him the fourth African male to be nominated for an Oscar.
9. In 2006, he won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Blood Diamond; he received Broadcast Film Critics Association, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Academy Award nominations for this performance.
10. Hounsou also acted in a supporting role in the 2009 science fiction film Push, as Agent Henry Carver.
11. In 2013, he appeared in the comedy film Baggage Claim alongside Paula Patton.
12. He also voiced Drago Bludvist in How to Train Your Dragon 2 and portrayed Korath the Pursuer in the Marvel Studios film Guardians of the Galaxy, both in 2014.
13. On February 17, 2016, FOX reported that Hounsou would join the second season of the television series Wayward Pines.
14. On February 24, 2007, it was announced that Hounsou would be the new Calvin Klein underwear model.
15. Hounsou spoke at the Summit on Climate Change at the United Nations on Tuesday, September 22, 2009.