Woodard’s illustrious body of work includes her Oscar-nominated performance in Martin Ritt’s Cross Creek; HBO’s Mandela, where she was honored with an ACE award for her portrayal of “Winnie Mandela”; Lawrence Kasdan’s Grand Canyon; John Sayles’ Passion Fish; Joseph Sargent’s Miss Evers’ Boys, for which she won an Emmy, SAG, and Golden Globe; Spike Lee’s Crooklyn; Gina Prince-Blythewood’s Love and Basketball; Tyler Perry’s The Family That Preys; and Maya Angelou’s Down in the Delta.
One of Woodard’s most recent projects includes the direction and production of Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African Folktales, which was named 2010 Audiobook of the Year and garnered a 2010 Grammy nomination for Best Children’s Spoken Word Album. The audiobook hosts a collaboration of talent both broad and diverse, featuring voice talents of Alan Rickman, Helen Mirren, Hugh Jackman, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Woodard currently splits her time between two television series: she stars as “Lieutenant Tanya Rice” in TNT’s new police drama Memphis Beat and as “Ruby Jean Reynolds,” mother to “Lafayette Reynolds,” on the HBO megahit True Blood.
In addition to her acting career, Woodard is a longtime activist, currently serving on the Creative Coalition, as well as co-founding Artists for a New South Africa, a nonprofit working to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and further the cause of democracy and human rights in South Africa. In 2008, Woodard served as a national surrogate for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, and in 2009 was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.