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In 2016, Patel starred as Saroo Brierley in the biographical film Lion, directed by Garth Davis and co-starring Nicole Kidman and Rooney Mara, which premiered to rave reviews and "Oscar buzz" at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.
Patel won the BAFTA awards for 'Best Supporting Actor'.
To prepare for the role, Patel went along with Boyle while scouting for filming locations, where he was able to observe the Dharavi slums for himself.
He also worked at a call centre for a day and in a hotel, where he washed dishes.
He also appeared alongside James Franco and Heather Graham in About Cherry, which premiered at the 2012 Berlin International Film Festival.
In 2014, Patel starred alongside Robert Sheehan and Zoë Kravitz in the film, The Road Within, about three unlikely friends, one with Tourette's syndrome (Sheehan), one with OCD (Patel) and an anorexic woman (Kravitz) who go on a road trip. Variety had positive words for the "bristling and committed performances by Robert Sheehan, Dev Patel and Zoe Kravitz" while noting that "there remains a nagging tidiness to the whole endeavor that leaves a strained, cloying aftertaste" that kept the movie from truly succeeding.
These contracts are lucrative, so graft and corruption are rife. See full summary » Leonard Kraditor is a burned-out case, living with his immigrant parents after his fiancée left him, helping out at their Brooklyn dry cleaners, taking photographs, at loose ends, suicidal.
In quick succession, he meets two women: Sandra, the daughter of his parents' business associates, frank, direct, sensual, Jewish like Leonard; and, his neighbor Michelle, mercurial, rootless, fun, blond, unattainable.
Is Leonard willing to risk losing Sandra's fidelity for the moments Michelle's moods swing toward him? When Michelle is lying in bed with Ronald sitting next to her and asking what happened, she asks him to leave and turns on her right side in a close-up shot.Patel was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2009 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards.The award eventually went posthumously to Heath Ledger for his performance in The Dark Knight, though Patel did win the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, which he shared with ten other cast members from Slumdog Millionaire.In the next room-wide shot, she has suddenly returned to her back, and after he has left the next close-up shows her on her side again.See more » Two Lovers reminds us why Joaquin Phoenix is a very good actor, maybe at the level that his brother River reached right before he passed on, and that it's perhaps even more bittersweet a movie knowing the course he's taken with himself.
which was released 1 July 2010 to extremely negative reviews.