The unveiling of this year’s Oscar nominees was bittersweet for Austin Butler . On Tuesday morning (Jan. 24), the 31-year-old actor woke up to find that he’d scored his first ever Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic — an exciting feat he won’t get to share with the rock n’ roll legend’s only child, Lisa Marie Presley, who died at the age of 54 on Jan. 12.
2023 Oscar Nominations: The Complete List 01/24/2023
Butler spoke about his best actor nod in a phone call interview on TODAY With Hoda & Jenna, shortly after the nominations news arrived. “I woke up to about 20 missed calls from my agent, manager and everybody,” he laughed. “What an exciting way to wake up.”
The Carrie Diaries alum went on to share how meaningful the nomination is, especially considering the intensive prep work he did for the lead role, something he’s spoken about a few times since Elvis premiered. “I’m still processing it right now,” he confessed. “It was such a daunting undertaking, making this movie, and it was also a very long process.”
“I just remember those sleepless nights and all the fear, and all the possibilities for how it could’ve gone wrong,” Butler added. “Not just for me, but for all these other amazing artists that worked on the film, being recognized feels really surreal and amazing,”
Hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager then asked Butler about the loss of Lisa Marie, who died after suffering a cardiac arrest. Butler has spoken in the past about his connection with the “Lights Out” singer, revealing just days before she died that they’d shared a special moment and talked for hours in Elvis’ former bedroom.
“I think about how much I wish she was here right now to get to celebrate with me,” Butler said on TODAY . “It’s the same thing with Elvis, I wish that they could be in these moments. It feels kind of strange to celebrate at a time of such deep grief. I sort of think of it as a way to honor her.”
Later on Tuesday, Butler shared his excitement over his Academy Award nomination. “Three years ago I got the role of a lifetime and have been living in a dream ever since. It has been my honor and privilege to take on the role of the icon, father, husband, and son – Elvis Presley. This was a labor of love for everyone involved,” he said in a statement shared with Billboard , in which he thanked the Academy, as well as Luhrmann and the film’s cast and crew. “My overwhelming gratitude to the Presley family is immeasurable. You opened your arms to me and I will never forget it. No words can describe the profound impact you have had on me. This is a dream I will never forget.”
Hear Austin Butler talk about his bittersweet Oscar nomination below: More from Billboard
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