Indian-origin British actor Dev Patel has received an Oscar nomination for his acting in 'Lion', which is set in India and Australia. He will be vying for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role at the 89th Academy Awards, to be held on February 26.
Other nominees are Mahershala Ali ('Moonlight'), Jeff Bridges ('Hell or High Water') and Michael Shannon ('Nocturnal Animals').
With his nomination for Lion, star Dev Patel became just the third actor of Indian descent ever nominated for an Oscar — and only the 13th Asian actor to receive a nod, too. He is the first Indian acting nominee in 13 years, since Ben Kingsley was nominated in 2004 for House of Sand and Fog.
Prior to Kingsley, who has racked up four nominations since 1982 for his acting work, the only other Oscar nominee of Indian descent was The Dark Angel star Merle Oberon, and that was back in 1935. Oberon spent much of her life shrouding her racial background and parentage, but was Desi and half Sri Lankan.
The 26-year-old actor played the lead role of Saroo Brierley, a man in search of his roots, in the film based on a true story. The film is based on a non-fiction book, A Long Way Home, written by Saroo Brierley and Larry Buttrose.
Patel shot to fame in 2009, with his Oscar-winning critically acclaimed film Slumdog Millionaire, following which he was also appreciated for his roles in films such as The Last Airbender, Chappie, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
However, Patel's portrayal of Brierley's abject journey as a lost child through childhood to a man who is obsessed with following his roots to India garnered him much applause within the creative circles.
The film charts the journey of a young kid, played by another actor of Indian origin, Sunny Pawar, who gets lost at a train station, and wakes up to find himself in a moving train. He then must learn to survive on his own in the bustling Indian town of Kolkata, while bracing many challenges in life until an Australian couple adopts him.
An adult Brierley, played by Patel, then becomes obsessed with finding his roots and the film traces his homecoming. The movie earned a lot of praise for its light artistic touch in creating an emotional melo-drama.
Patel's portrayal of Brierley also got him nominated in the best suporting Actor's category in the prestigious Golden Globe Awards, but he lost the award to Aaron Taylor-Johnson of Nocturnal Animals.
The drama, directed by Garth Davis, will release in India on February 24.