January 25 2017
* Dev Patel gets supporting male category nod for role in ‘Lion’
* Says he will take mother to Oscars
* Pays tribute to young India child actor Sunny Pawar and director of ‘Lion’ Garth Davis
* Shooting ‘Hotel Mumbai’ presently
LONDON-RAISED star Dev Patel said he need to have a good cry in the shower after learning he has been nominated for an Oscar for his part in “Lion”.
He also said he will be taking his mother to the ceremony in Los Angeles, and she will be his guest.
Currently filming “Hotel Mumbai” in Mumbai, about the city terror attacks in 2008, he said he told his mother straightaway yesterday after the nominations were released and she started dancing around the care home where she works back in London.
He is believed to be only the third ‘Indian’ with an Oscar nomination to his name. Ben Kingsley, who won for his role in “Gandhi” was born to a Gujarati doctor who emigrated to the UK. He has been nominated four times in a long career and Merle Oberon was named in 1935 in the best actress category. Oberon, an Anglo-Indian, who deliberately obscured her Indian heritage, was nominated for “The Dark Angel“.
Patel’s remarks came not long after he received the news and speaking to the Los Angeles Times just after a day’s filming on “Hotel Mumbai“.
Patel also paid credit to Sunny Pawar who plays his part as a young boy in “Lion“.
The Londoner, who has a home in Los Angeles, is no stranger to the Academy Awards, having presented the Documentary category last year and attending in 2009 when “Slumdog Millionaire” won eight awards.
Released in the UK recently, Patel gives what he believes is a career defining performance in “Lion” which sees him as an Indian Australian returning to a country he left as an ‘abandoned’ street kid and one who has to use Google Maps to retrace his biological family after being adopted by an Aussie family.
His adopted mother in the film is Nicole Kidman, who herself is also nominated in the best supporting female role, while Patel is named in the equivalent male category and up against Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water“); Mahershala Ali (“Moonlighting”), Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”); Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”).
In all “Lion” has six nominations – including in the Best Film category.
Patel told www.asianculturevulture.com about Hotel Mumbai last year when he was in London and promoting “The Man Who Knew Infinity”.
Despite not being a hit, his performance in that merited more attention than it got and he was every bit as equal as Jeremy Irons and Toby Jones as stuffy English professors, but then ACV enjoyed his turns in both Exotic Marigold Hotel films and has rated him more highly than most for a while.
Last October, when “Lion” premiered in the UK at the London Film Festival (LFF), he and Kidman talked at length about the film, working together and their respective careers at a special LFF screen talk at the BFI. Please see the link before. Patel talked about how he spent time preparing for the role and how he wanted to do it justice.
Patel said he also felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the part and in director Aussie Garth Davis’ belief in him.
In a statement, he also added: “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.
“‘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.”
Some have seen Patel’s nomination as part of a wave to recognise non-white talent in a Hollywood industry dominated largely by white men.
Last year’s #OscarsSoWhite made headline around the world and this year seven nominees are people of colour and nearly half of all films in best picture category, are about the African-American experience or an Asian inspired one.
In that respect “Moonlighting” has done extremely well – garnering eight nominations in all. It has been wowing the festival circuit – and is about a young black man coming to terms with his sexual identity in a tough part of Miami. But the real verdict on #OscarsSoWhite will have to wait until the awards themselves.
The Oscars take place in Los Angeles on February 26 2017.
Read our review of “Lion” and our real-time report on Patel and Kidman at the LFF screen talk
Patel about Hotel Mumbai (near end)