- Met his wife, actor Lisa Benavides, while they were both attending The Juilliard School.
- First big-screen appearance was in Nora Ephron's 1991 drama This Is My Life.
- Made his feature writing and directing debut in 1997 with Eye of God.
- O, a violent, teen-oriented adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello that Nelson directed in 1999, was shelved for two years following a series of school shootings.
- Breakout film role was the dim-witted Delmar in the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
- Contributed vocals to "In the Jailhouse Now," a track from the Grammy-winning O Brother soundtrack.
- Produced plays he has written include The Grey Zone, Eye of God and Anadarko.
- 2001, Grammy — Album of the Year: Winner
- 1998, Independent Spirit Awards — Someone to Watch Award: Nominee
- 2006, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Acting Ensemble: Nominee
- Lisa Benavides — Wife
- Ruth Kaiser Nelson — Mother
- Teddy — Son
- Elijah — Son
- Henry — Son
- Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States (BA in Classics, 1986); The Juilliard School, New York, New York, United States (1990)
- Birth Place: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States
- Profession: Actor, Director, Playwright, Screenwriter
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