Sean Penn: Hot Hollywood Celebrity Photo Gallery of the Day Our selected celebrity to be included in our “Hot Hollywood Celebrity Photo Gallery of the Day” is Sean Penn. Sean was at the premiere of Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” starring Brad Pitt, at the Cannes Film Festival.

Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt

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Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt - 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival - "The Tree of Live" Premiere - Arrivals - Palais des Festivals - Cannes, France

Sean Justin Penn (born August 17, 1960) is an American actor, screenwriter and film director, also known for his political and social activism. He is a two-time Academy Award winner for his roles in Mystic River (2003) and Milk (2008), as well as the recipient of a Golden Globe Award for the former and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the latter.

Penn began his acting career in television with a brief appearance in a 1974 episode of Little House on the Prairie, directed by his father Leo Penn. Following his film debut in 1981’s Taps and a diverse range of film roles in the 1980s, Penn emerged as a prominent leading actor with the 1995 drama film Dead Man Walking, for which he earned his first Academy Award nomination and the Best Actor Award at the Berlin Film Festival. Penn subsequently received another two Oscar nominations for Sweet and Lowdown (1999) and I Am Sam (2001), before winning his first Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003 for Mystic River and a second one in 2008 for Milk. He has also won a Best Actor Award of the Cannes Film Festival for She’s So Lovely (1997), and two Best Actor Awards at the Venice Film Festival for Hurlyburly (1998) and 21 Grams (2003).

Penn made his feature film directorial debut with 1991’s The Indian Runner, followed by the drama film The Crossing Guard (1995) and the mystery film The Pledge (2001). In 2002, Penn directed one of the 11 segments of 11’09″01 September 11, a compilation film made in response to the September 11 attacks. In 2007, Penn directed his fourth feature film Into the Wild, which garnered critical acclaim and two Academy Award nominations.

In addition to his film work, Penn is known for his political and social activism, most notably his criticism of the George W. Bush administration, his contact with the Presidents of Venezuela and Cuba, and his humanitarian work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Penn also attracted media attention for his previous marriages to pop icon Madonna and actress Robin Wright.

Penn appeared in a 1974 episode of the Little House on the Prairie television series as a then blond-haired extra when his father, Leo, directed some of the episodes.

Penn launched his film career with the 1981 film Taps, where he played a key role as a military high school cadet opposite protagonist Timothy Hutton. Tom Cruise also made one of his first film appearances as another cadet in the action-drama. A year later, he appeared in the hit comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High (in the role of surfer-stoner Jeff Spicoli). In 1983, Penn appeared as Mick O’Brien, a troubled youth in the drama Bad Boys. It earned Penn favorable reviews and jump started his career as a serious actor.

In 1985, Penn gave a memorable performance in the role of Andrew Daulton Lee in The Falcon and the Snowman, which closely followed an actual criminal case. Lee was a former drug dealer by trade, convicted of espionage for the Soviet Union and was originally sentenced to life in prison. Lee was paroled in 1998. In an interview for The Guardian in April 2005, it was stated that Penn later hired Lee as his personal assistant, partly because he wanted to reward Lee for allowing him to play Lee in the film, and also because he was a firm believer in rehabilitation and thought Andrew Lee should be successfully reintegrated into society since he was a free man again.

In 1986 he starred in the drama At Close Range, opposite Christopher Walken. The film featured his then wife Madonna’s single “Live to Tell”. The music video for the song, which featured clips from the film, played heavily on MTV and helped promote the film.

Penn, nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor five times, has won the award twice. The academy first recognized his work playing a racist murderer on death row in Tim Robbins’ 1995 drama Dead Man Walking. Penn was noted in 1999 for his comedic performance as an egotistical jazz guitarist in Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown. He received his third nomination in 2001 after portraying a mentally-handicapped father in I am Sam. In 2003, Penn finally won for his role in Clint Eastwood’s Boston crime-drama Mystic River. In 2004, he played a disturbed man bent on killing the president in The Assassination of Richard Nixon. He was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2004.

In 2006 he portrayed populist governor Willie Stark (based on Huey Long) in an adaptation of the classic American novel All the King’s Men, though the film was a critical and commercial failure. In November 2008, Penn earned rave reviews for his portrayal of real-life gay-rights icon and politician Harvey Milk in the biopic Milk and was nominated for best actor for the 2008 Independent Spirit Awards. The film also earned Penn his fifth nomination and second win for the Academy Award for Best Actor. In 2010 he starred as Joseph Wilson in Fair Game, a film adaptation of Valerie Plame’s 2007 memoir. Penn appears in the science fiction drama The Tree of Life.

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