British-Indian actor Dev Patel, who earned his maiden Oscar nomination in best supporting actor category for his film ‘Lion’, said on Tuesday that the feeling is yet to sink but he is filled with an "overwhelming sense of gratitude".
Expressing his love for India, the actor said the country holds a special place in his heart.
“Ok, so I just received a call to say that I've been nominated for an Academy Award... To be totally honest, the news hasn't made it's 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 26-year-old actor said in a statement.
"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," he added.
Patel, who plays the role of a man I search of his lost parents in India in the true-life inspired drama also thanked his director and co-stars.
"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 color 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. This will forever be one of the most memorable experiences of my life," he said.
Patel has received widespread praise for his performance as Saroo Brierley with critics hailing it as a career-defining moment.
"Lion", which co-stars Nicole Kidman, is also nominated in the Best Picture category alongside awards favourite romantic musical "La La Land", "Arrival", family drama "Manchester by Sea", "Moonlight", war movie "Hacksaw Ridge", "Hidden Figures", African-American drama "Fences" and "Hell or High Water".
The 2017 Academy Awards ceremony will take place in Hollywood on February 26.