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James Howard Woods (born April 18, 1947) is an American film, stage and television actor. Woods is known for starring in films such as Once Upon a Time in America , Ghosts of Mississippi , Salvador and Casino and as the Disney villain Hades in Hercules . His acting awards include two Emmy Awards and two Academy Award nominations. As a native of Warwick, Rhode Island , he is the man for whom Quahog 's high school, James Woods Regional High School , is named.

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In Rob Reiner's film Ghosts of Mississippi (1996), Woods appeared alongside Alec Baldwin and Whoopi Goldberg. He portrayed the white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith. The film was not a box-office success and received mixed reviews. Critics however praised Woods' performance. Janet Maslin in her New York Times review states, "Woods's performance as the hateful old reprobate Beckwith is the films chief sign of life". The Los Angeles Time published an article titled "James Woods is So Good at Being Bad". In the articles it describes Woods having aggressively lobbied director Rob Reiner for the role, which Reiner originally intended for an actor in his 70s, like Paul Newman. "Beckwith's Mississippi accent, which Woods perfected by watching tapes and working with an accent coach, helped him distance himself from the character. 'I imagined I was speaking a foreign language'. " Woods earned a Golden Globe nomination as well as his second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor

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