Dev Patel on Oscar nomination: 'I need a good cry in the shower'

The Weinstein Company

An Indian boy ends up thousands of kilometres from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. Some 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

Dev Patel has been nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting role in Lion and it hasn't quite sunk in yet.

Unlike his mum, who screamed through the phone in jubilation when he rang to share the news, Patel plans to sob in the shower once he's had a chance to process the news. 

Here's a conversation with him, just after the Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday.

Dev Patel has scored a nomination for best supporting actor for his role in Lion.
Fred Thornhill/Reuters

Dev Patel has scored a nomination for best supporting actor for his role in Lion.

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Are you freaking out? 

That is the understatement of the century. It kind of hasn't fully permeated my brain. I'm just so overwhelmingly grateful to the universe and the master of that universe, Garth Davis (director of Lion).

I am seeing on Twitter that you're the third Indian actor to be nominated for an acting award. 

Wow. Who are the other two? I need to find out. But this is just such a beautiful moment. I think it's a time of celebration.

Child actor Sunny Pawar delivers a stunning performance in Lion.
Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Child actor Sunny Pawar delivers a stunning performance in Lion.

So you're in India filming a new movie? 

Yes, Hotel Mumbai. It's 7.30pm I've been out here for two weeks. We're just finishing off the shoots, so we're nearly done, and I'll be back in Los Angeles in two days.

You had quite a first Oscar experience with Slumdog Millionaire. What do you remember? 

I remember walking down the red carpet and rubbing the bottoms of the Oscar statues as a good luck ritual. I remember going on the stage carrying Rubina, the young actress, and it was just like seeing all of those young faces in absolute ecstasy.

And this time around, little Sunny might be with you.

Yes! He's so incredible in this film, and I share this nomination with him in a big way.

Nicole Kidman plays the protagonist's adoptive mother in Lion.
John Phillips/Getty Images

Nicole Kidman plays the protagonist's adoptive mother in Lion.

So this time at the Oscars, more of the focus will be on you.

I think the first time we were there, it was all such a blur, and it was hard to really kind of make heads or tails of it all. Now that I've been there a couple of times – last year to present documentary – I know it's amazing to just watch people in those moments of joy. People in the dark who have been in editing rooms for month. To go there again, alone in a way, with this nomination – it's really special.

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OK, so your work day is over – what will you do to celebrate?

I literally just got the news and I'm talking to you within 20 minutes of hearing. I'm sitting in this hotel in the best reception spot I have. I called my mother and she was at work in the care home, and she just started screaming and crying and everyone was looking through the glass wondering why she's making a big scene.

Will you take her to the show if you can?

100 per cent. That's her moment. I'm her guest.

You've spoken a lot over the past few months about how hard it was to get a role like this as a guy who looks like you. Does this feel like vindication?

Completely. I think every actor faces their own unique struggles in this industry, and every one of those journeys I've been on has been a unique learning experience. Lion came to me three years ago. I wouldn't have been able to do what I've done in this film without that struggle. The life experience to embody that character – it feels like it has accumulated to this moment. I put everything I had into that film. Every part of my soul went into this journey and getting it right. A script like that, for myself, is such a rarity. I wanted to do it justice.

It also gave you your new long hair look.

The Lion mane! Clearly, that's Garth vision to cover my big ears. I'm sticking with it because I'm playing a character in this film who is a Sikh and wears a turban and underneath that he's got a big bun.

So man bun up next?


Where are you off to next?

I'm gonna get in the car, and then I'm gonna go get in the shower and probably break down. I've been holding it in. I need a good cry in the shower.

- LA Times


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