We need to talk about Dev Patel.
The 26-year-old British Indian actor could walk away with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Lion.” In the film, Dev plays Saroo Brierley, a man desperately searching for his family in India after being separated from them at the age of 5.
It’s a great, fiery performance that deserves recognition in and of itself, but there’s another reason we’re rooting for him. Just read this tweet:
That is a huge deal. On-screen representation matters, and it’s especially important for Asian actors. According to a 2016 diversity study, Asian actors nabbed only 3.9 percent of speaking roles in film ― a stark contrast from the 73.7 percent white actors receive.
That’s not the only reason we’re pulling for Dev to win an Oscar, though. Below, a few reasons why we’re obsessed with the Oscar-nominated actor:
— Before receiving all this Oscar buzz for “Lion,” Dev was in 2008’s massive hit “Slumdog Millionaire” and was equally amazing in that. Remember when he danced like this and low-key stole your heart?
— He was also great on HBO’s “The Newsroom,” playing a blogger and the office’s resident computer geek.
— He was super cute back then, of course.
— But right around the time of “The Newsroom,” something began to change. Our nerdy-cute pretend boyfriend started to grow into his looks in a major way. It’s like one day the hair gods smiled down at Dev and said, “Hey, ‘Slumdog’ guy, it’s time to grow out that hair and drive everyone crazy with lust for your locks.”
And grow it out he did. The swooshy-hair era began and nothing has been the same since. Dev has pretty much blossomed into full babe mode now.
— Those curls.
Seriously, THOSE CURLS.
— And dat smile.
— He also has a beautiful, classical profile. And the beard is good, too. (Let’s give credit where credit is due, guys.)
— He’s so good at posing for photo shoots, his side hustle should be modeling. (But please don’t stop acting, Dev.)
— Then there’s his accent. Dev pulls off a pretty convincing Aussie accent in “Lion,” but his real-life British lilt will melt your heart.
Sigh. Please never stop touching your hair.
— All awards season long, Dev has been a big booster of Sunny Pawar, the adorable 8-year-old who plays the younger version of his character in “Lion.”
Like, he literally boosts him up:
Sunny very impressively carries the first half of “Lion” all by himself and Dev gives him credit for that every chance he gets.
“He’s so incredible in this film, and I share this nomination with him in a big way,” Dev told the Los Angeles Times recently.
Don’t pretend you weren’t deeply affected by the cuteness of their introduction of “Lion” at the Golden Globes.
Same, girl, same.
— Who’s he taking to the Oscars? Apparently, his mom, Anita. “That’s her moment,” he told the LA Times. “I’m her guest.”
D’aww. Here they are at a 2009 British awards party.
Gotta love a man who respects his mama.
— We also want him to win because we’re positive he’d be so humble and bashful during his acceptance speech. Just look at how he reacted to his name being called for his SAG award nomination.
— And in spite of all the Oscar buzz surrounding him, Dev realizes we’re living in politically tumultuous times and there’s weightier things happening in the world right now. Here’s what he told the LA Times on the SAG Awards red carpet:
“At times like this, you’re constantly questioning what you’re doing at awards like this or promoting a movie. It feels so pointless. I look to the people around me and they remind me the message of this film, of the art we’re trying to inject into the world right now. It’s about unification,” he added. “When I think about that, it makes me have a little bit more strength.”
— Oh, and another thing: He’s an animal lover. (Dev + doggo = happy us. And loud squee-ing noises, to be honest.)
— On another shallow note, boy fills out a suit quite well.
— And in case you were wondering, he has a mean street-style game, too.
— We’re in good company in our Dev devotion. Ellen DeGeneres gave him the title of “Sexiest Man Alive” when he visited the show back in January. So well deserved, even if Dev was like, “Aw, shucks, me?”
And his “Lion” co-star Nicole Kidman recognizes his swag as well.
Watch out, Keith Urban.
— Heck, even his ex-girlfriend and “Slumdog Millionaire” co-star Freida Pinto gave him props on Instagram for his Best Supporting Actor Oscar nom.
So clearly, he’s best supporting ex-boyfriend, too.
Now would be a good time to mention what a ridiculously good-looking couple they were a few years back.
— Lastly, Dev’s work on “Lion” didn’t end when he was done filming. He’s been busy promoting #LionHeart, a social impact campaign which will provide financial support to the over 11 million children who live on the streets of India. Here’s our boy asking people to contribute:
In conclusion, Dev Patel is a super talented actor and a stand-up guy with amazing hair.
Cheers to you, Dev. We’re pulling for you and your epic curls Sunday night!