Who is Tim Blake Nelson?
A writer, director, and multiple-awarded actor with nearly 100 acting credits to his name, Tim Blake Nelson is probably still known best for his portrayal of Delmar O’Donnell in the 2000 adventure comedy “O Brother, Where Art Thou”, in which he co-starred alongside George Clooney and John Turturro. This role brought Tim numerous accolades and praise, and a nomination for the Chicago Film Critics Association Award – Most Promising Actor.
Tim is often referred to as a ‘modern character actor’, and besides the aforementioned role, he was seen in numerous hit movies such as “Leaves of Grass”, “The Incredible Hulk”, and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”.
Early life, family, and education
Born Timothy Blake Nelson under the zodiac sign of Taurus on 11 May 1964, he recently celebrated his 59th birthday. He hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma USA, holds American nationality, and comes from a Jewish family, raised by his parents Ruth and Don, a social activist and geologist respectively.
Tim showed his writing talent from an early age, and attended the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute. Speaking of his educational background, it was at Holland Hall School, and upon matriculating in 1982, he enrolled at Brown University, from which he graduated with a BA degree in 1986. Tim then enrolled at the prestigious Juilliard School, from which he graduated in 1990, as a member of Group 19.
Tim made his acting debut playing re-occurring characters on the sketch comedy show “The Unnaturals” in 1989. Three years later, he made his first movie appearance as Dennis in the drama “This Is My Life”, written and directed by Nora Ephron.
In the following years, Tim co-starred in “Amateur” (1994), “Heavyweights” (1995), and “Joe’s Apartment” (1996). Also in 1996, Tim was seen as Johnny Carthage in the TV mini-series “Dead Man’s Walk”, which was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.
Tim’s first notable role came in 1997 when he was cast to play a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Technician in the Oscar-nominated biographic drama “Donnie Brasco”, co-starring alongside Al Pacino, Johnny Depp and Michael Madsen. The movie had 16 award nominations, including the Oscar for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, and won two.
In the following year, Tim was seen as Private Tills in “The Thin Red Line”, which was nominated for seven Oscars (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, Best Sound, Best Cinematography, Best Music, Original Dramatic Score, and Best Editing). The movie was based on the autobiographical novel of the same title by James Jones, which reflected his combat experiences on Guadalcanal during World War II. The stars of the movie were Sean Penn, Nick Nolte and Jim Caviezel.
Most notable movie roles
As mentioned, Tim had an extensive filmography, so only his most notable roles will be mentioned, such as Delmar O’Donnell in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”, which besides the aforementioned award, earned him a nomination for the Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical.
Tim was seen as Tom Loyless in the 2005 TV movie “Warm Springs” a biographical drama of 32nd president of the US Franklin D. Roosevelt’s battle with poliomyelitis, in 1921. For his performance, Tim was nominated for the Satellite Award – Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television.
In 2008, Tim was cast to play Samuel Sterns in “The Incredible Hulk”, starring Edward Norton, Liv Tayler and Tim Roth, which was nominated for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film.
In the following year, Tim played another of his notable roles, as Bolger in the comedy crime-drama “Leaves of Grass”, which he also wrote and directed. The movie followed the story of an Ivy League professor who comes back to his hometown in Oklahoma, and finds his twin brother who was planning to take down a local drug king. Tim was nominated for the SXSW Festival Audience Award – Spotlight Premiere.
In 2012, Tim co-starred alongside Daniel Day-Lewis in the two times Oscar-awarded biographic drama “Lincoln”, directed by Steven Spielberg. The movie had 252 award nominations and 107 wins, including two Oscars for Best Motion Picture of the Year, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Daniel Day-Lewis).
In the following year, Tim landed the title role as Henry Bukowski in the biographic drama “Bukowski”, which was based on the true life story of the famous writer, Charles Bukowski; Tim starred opposite Josh Peck and Camila Morrone.
I just saw “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” on Netflix. I think it’s my favorite show of the year. I was just glued to the…
Posted by Frank Cho on Friday, December 7, 2018
Certainly worth mentioning is Tim’s role as Buster Scruggs in the 2018 musical comedy-drama “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, written and directed by the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. The movie had 42 award nominations, including three for Oscar – Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song), and Best Achievement in Costume Design, and won seven. Tim and the rest of the cast shared the Indiana Film Journalists Association Award for Best Ensemble Acting.
In the following year, Tim was cast to play Ralph Meyers in the biographic drama “Just Mercy”, which followed the story of Bryan Stevenson (played by Michael B. Jordan), a civil rights defense attorney, and his work to free a wrongfully convicted death row inmate. Tim was nominated for the Indiana Film Journalists Association Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2021, Tim landed the lead role as Henry in the Western drama “Old Henry”, written and directed by Potsy Ponciroli. For his performance, Tim won Almeria Western Film Festival Grand Jury Award for Best Actor.
Most recently, Tim was seen as Borislov in the 2023 action comedy “Ghosted”, starring Chris Evans, Adrien Brody and Ana de Armas, which premiered on 21 April.
If you’ve wondered what Tim’s doing now, well, we’ll give you a sneak peek into his future projects. He announced his appearances in ten upcoming movies, and one of them is “Dune: Part Two”, which is currently in development.
Most notable TV series roles
One of Tim’s notable TV series roles was his portrayal of Casey Malick in all 13 episodes of the 2011 action drama “Chaos”, starring opposite Freddy Rodriguez, James Murray and Eric Close.
Three years later, Tim portrayed Meeker in the TV mini-series “Klondike”, a biographical drama about two childhood friends, Byron Epstein and Bill Haskell, who went on a journey to the Klondike, Yukon to make his fortune. The show was based on the novel “Gold Diggers” by Charlotte Gray.
Tim’s most significant TV series role was certainly his portrayal of Wade Tillman in the 2019 TV mini-series “Watchmen”, which earned him an International Online Cinema Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie, Gold Derby Award nomination for Movie/Limited Series Supporting Actor, and Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Tim Blake Nelson shows you the man behind the reflectatine. pic.twitter.com/7xwx9Aii7D
— Watchmen (@watchmen) August 27, 2020
Wife and children
Tim hasn’t been the subject of any rumors about his romantic life, mostly because it’s widely known that he’s a married man. Since 1994 he’s been married to his former long-term girlfriend Lisa Benavides, also an actress. She played support roles in movies written and directed by Tim, such as “Eye of God” and “Leaves of Grass”. Lisa currently serves as an acting teacher at Tisch School.
The couple has three sons together, whose names and birthdates haven’t been disclosed, as Tim and Lisa prefer to keep their children’s lives away from the public eye.
As of May 2023, the family of five lives in their residence in New York City.
Although this actor may not have reached the world’s popularity and the heights of the Hollywood starry sky, he’s certainly left his mark on the film and TV industry. Thanks to his work as an actor, writer and director, Tim Blake Nelson has accumulated a sizeable fortune. According to sources, as of May 2023, his net worth has been estimated at over $5 million.