- Has said the earliest acting role he can recall is Toto in an elementary school production of The Wizard of Oz.
- While growing up, spent his summers at drama camp and interned at Connecticut's Eugene O'Neill Theater.
- Made his TV debut in the 1996 Danielle Steel adaptation The Ring.
- Hit the big screen in 1997, with roles in indie drama Inventing the Abbotts and action hit Face/Off.
- Called upon his childhood soccer skills for the part of Gavin Harris in sports drama Goal! (2005) and its 2008 sequel, Goal! 2: Living the Dream.
- Is a descendant, on his mother's side, of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
- 2015, Tony — Actor (Featured Role--Play): Nominee
- 2004, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Male: Nominee
- 2017, Tribeca Film Festival — Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Winner
- 2013, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Winner
- Pietro Salvatore Nivola — Father
- Adrian Nivola — Brother
- Rachel Weisz — Ex-significant Other
- Thomas Jefferson Davis Jr. — Grandfather
- Sam John Nivola — Son
- Emily Mortimer — Wife
- Costantino Nivola — Grandfather
- May Nivola — Daughter
- Virginia Davis — Mother
- Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States (BA in English Literature, 1994)