Tommy Lee Jones as Hank Deerfield 80th Academy Awards Oscar Nominations Best Actor  --  Tommy Lee Jones as Hank Deerfield In the Valley of Elah

This was Tommy Lee Jones' third Academy Award Oscar nomination and the first in the Best Actor category. He was nominated for his supporting roles in JFK (1991) and The Fugitive (1993), for which he won the Oscar.

"In the Valley of Elah" tells the story of a war veteran (Tommy Lee Jones as Hank Deerfield), his wife (Susan Sarandon), and the search for their son, a soldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing, and the police detective who helps in the investigation.

"There are few actors who are true American icons," explains Director Paul Haggis about the decision to go after Jones for the role of Hank Deerfield. "Tommy Lee Jones is so much more than that. He’s one of our very best actors."

Getting Tommy Lee Jones interested in the role took only a few days remembers Haggis, "He read it over the weekend; Monday he said I want to do it. I was thrilled."

About Tommy Lee Jones

Academy Award winner Tommy Lee Jones was awarded the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the uncompromising U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard in the box office hit The Fugitive in 1994. For this performance, he also received a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actor. Three years before, Jones received his first Oscar® nomination for his portrayal of Clay Shaw in Oliver Stone’s JFK.

Jones recently directed and starred in the critically acclaimed, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which debuted in competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival. Jones won Best Actor and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga won Best Screenplay for this film about friendship and murder along the Texas-Mexican border.

Jones recently made an appearance in Robert Altman’s big screen spin-off of Garrison Keillor’s U.S. radio show, A Prairie Home Companion. The film also starred Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline.

Next Jones will be seen in No Country for Old Men based on the Cormac McCarthy novel, and written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Jones stars with Javier Bardem as a West Texas sheriff in pursuit of a vicious and vengeful drug trafficker and assassin. Also upcoming is In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead in which Jones stars for director Bertrand Tavernier. The film is produced by Michael Fitzgerald and is adapted from James Lee Burke's novel of the same title.

In 2003, he starred with Cate Blanchett in The Missing for director Ron Howard. Prior to that he starred with Benicio del Toro in The Hunted for director William Friedkin, and re-teamed with Will Smith and director Barry Sonnenfeld in the box office hit, Men in Black 2.

In 2000, Jones starred in Space Cowboys with James Garner and Donald Sutherland for director/co-star Clint Eastwood, and in Rules of Engagement with Samuel L. Jackson. Jones starred with Ashley Judd in the box office hit Double Jeopardy in 1999, and in 1998 he reprised his role of U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard in U.S. Marshals, the follow-up to The Fugitive.

In 1997 he starred with Will Smith in the No. 1 box office hit of the year, Men In Black, which grossed over $500 million worldwide.

Jones made his feature film debut in Love Story and, in a career spanning four decades, has starred in such films as Eyes of Laura Mars, Coal Miner’s Daughter - for which he received his first Golden Globe nomination - Stormy Monday, The Package, Under Siege, Heaven and Earth, The Client, Natural Born Killers, Blue Sky, Batman Forever, and Cobb.

In 1995, Jones made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed telefilm adaptation of the Elmer Kelton book The Good Old Boys for TNT. Jones also starred in the telefilm with Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepard, Frances McDormand and Matt Damon. For his portrayal of Hewey Calloway, he received nominations for both a Screen Actors Guild Award and a CableACE Award.

Jones had had previous success on the small screen. In 1983, he won an Emmy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Gary Gilmore in The Executioner’s Song and, in 1989, was nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for the miniseries Lonesome Dove.

His numerous network and cable credits include the title role in The Amazing Howard Hughes, the American Playhouse production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Rainmaker for HBO, the HBO/BBC production of Yuri Noshenko, KGB and April Morning. In 1969, Jones made his Broadway debut in John Osborne’s A Patriot for Me. His other Broadway appearances include Four on a Garden with Carol Channing and Sid Caesar, and Ulysses in Nighttown with the late Zero Mostel.

Born in San Saba, Texas, he worked briefly with his father in the oil fields before leaving for St. Mark’s School of Texas, then Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in English.

Performance by an actor in a leading role, Tommy Lee Jones as Hank Deerfield in In the Valley of Elah

Tommy Lee Jones as Hank Deerfield in the movie "In the Valley of Elah"

About the Movie "In the Valley of Elah"

Academy Award-winning actor Tommy Lee Jones, who plays the role of Hank Deerfield says of the story, "You’d have to say that it concerns itself with what a war can do to people. I also think it indicates that blind, mindless patriotism is very dangerous."

"In the Valley of Elah" tells the story of a war veteran, his wife, and the search for their son, a soldier who recently returned from Iraq but has mysteriously gone missing, and the police detective who helps in the investigation.

Inspired by true events, "In the Valley of Elah" is Haggis' directing follow-up to the Academy Award winning "Crash." In addition to the Oscar-winning screenplay for "Crash," his recent writing credits include the award winning "Million Dollar Baby," for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay, and current releases "The Last Kiss," "Flags of Our Fathers," "Casino Royale" and "Letters From Iwo Jima."

On his first weekend back after serving in Iraq, Mike Deerfield (Jonathan Tucker) goes missing and is reported AWOL. When Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones), a former military MP and his wife Joan (Susan Sarandon) get the phone call with the disturbing news, Hank sets out to search for their son.

Emily Sanders (Charlize Theron), a police detective in the jurisdiction where Mike was last seen, reluctantly helps him in his search. As the evidence grows, her missing person’s case begins to look more and more like foul play, and soon Sanders finds herself in a fight with the military brass as she and Hank struggle to keep control of the investigation. But when the truth about Mike’s time in Iraq finally begins to emerge, Hank’s entire world is challenged and he’s forced to reevaluate long-held beliefs to solve the mystery behind his son’s disappearance.

The title "In the Valley of Elah" refers to the spot in Israel as noted in the Bible (1st Samuel, chapter 17) where the battle of David and Goliath took place some 3000 years ago. Today, it’s a lesser-known tourist attraction at the junction of Route 38 and Route 375 near Elah Junction.

It conjures up a battle with impossible odds, and what becomes of those who beat the impossible odds and return home only to face coping with symptoms of PTSD and other stress-related disorders.

"I love the title as odd as it is," explains Haggis, "because it embraces a lot of what the movie talks about. King Saul sent David into the Valley of Elah to fight Goliath, armed only with five stones. I asked myself, who would do that? Who would send a young man to fight a giant? This film addresses our responsibility in sending young men and women off to war…."

"In the Valley of Elah" is a thought-provoking drama inspired by true events from acclaimed filmmaker Paul Haggis and stars Oscar®-winning actors Tommy Lee Jones ("The Fugitive," "Men in Black"), Charlize Theron ("North Country," "Monster") and Susan Sarandon ("Dead Man Walking," "Alfie"). The film also stars Jason Patric ("Narc,"Your Friends and Neighbors"), James Franco ("Flyboys," "Spider-Man 2"), Josh Brolin ("Melinda and Melinda," "Into the Blue") Frances Fisher ("House of Sand and Fog," "Titanic"), Jonathan Tucker ("The Deep End," The Virgin Suicides), Mehcad Brooks ("Glory Road," "Desperate Housewives") and newcomers Wes Chatham, Jake McLaughlin, and Victor Wolf.

Paul Haggis directs from his original screenplay based on a story by Mark Boal and Haggis. This is Haggis' directing follow-up to the Academy Award-winning "Crash." In addition to the Oscar-winning screenplay for "Crash," his recent writing credits include the award-winning "Million Dollar Baby," for which he received an Academy Award-nomination for Best Screenplay, and recent releases "Flags of Our Fathers," "Casino Royale" as well as "Letters From Iwo Jima," which also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Warner Independent Pictures presents in association with Nala Films, Summit Entertainment and Samuels Media, a Blackfriar’s Bridge production of a film by Paul Haggis, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron. "In the Valley of Elah" is executive produced by Emilio Diez Barroso, Bob Hayward, David Garrett, Erik Feig, James Holt, and Stan Wlodkowski, and produced by Laurence Becsey, Patrick Wachsberger, Steven Samuels, and Darlene Caamano Loquet. With a story by Mark Boal and Paul Haggis, screenplay by Paul Haggis, "In the Valley of Elah" is produced and directed by Paul Haggis.

Collaborating behind the scenes is the creative team of Oscar®-nominated director of photography Roger Deakins, A.S.C., B.S.C. ("The Man Who Wasn’t There," "O Brother Where Art Thou?"), production designer Laurence Bennett ("Crash," "Freedom Writers") and costume designer Lisa Jensen ("The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," "The Fabulous Baker Boys").

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Oscar Nominations Best Actor - Tommy Lee Jones as Hank Deerfield "In the Valley of Elah"