As 89th Academy Awards nominations were announced on January 24, Indian origin British actor Dev Patel admitted that he is having difficulty processing the information. The actor has just bagged an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his character of Saroo Brierly in the movie Lion.
While expressing his joy, Dev Patel said in a statement: "Okay, so I just received a call to say that I've been nominated for an Academy Award. The news hasn't made its way into my brain yet, but I'm looking at these beautiful smiling faces around me... faces of the ones I love. And I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude."
The nomination makes him the third Indian origin actor to receive a nod in an acting category at the Academy Awards following Merle Oberon and Sir Ben Kingsley. With the nomination of Best Supporting Actor, Dev Patel is up against actors Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals). Lion actress Nicole Kidman has also earned a nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
"What makes this moment so much more poignant is that I've just wrapped shooting another film in India. This enthralling country holds such a deep place in my heart, and it is where Saroo's journey was born."
Apart from that, the film has also earned five nominations including in the Best Picture category. Directed by Garth Davis, Lion revolves around a young street kid Saroo (Sunny Pawar), who is adopted by a Tasmanian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) from an orphanage in Kolkata. Twenty-five years later Saroo tries to trace back his biological family using Facebook and Google Earth. Saroo in his older age is played by Dev Patel.
Talking about director Garth Davis, the Slumdog Millionaire actor said, "This film would be nothing without Garth Davis. Without his love, commitment and vision this Lion wouldn't have been able to roar. To that extent I want to share this incredible feeling with Luke, Grieg, Jenny Kent, Iain, Angie, Emile, Sunny, Nicole, David, Rooney, Divian, Priyanka, the Brierley family as well as the Weinstein Co team."
"'Lion' reaffirms the message that love is not dictated by the colour of your skin, not by race, gender, sexuality, social status or origin. It is a message I am proud to be spreading during these uncertain times," the actor added.
Lion is slated to release in India on February 24.