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Dev Patel's fame is skyrocketing, but it didn't rise without a fight. 

Nearly a decade after his breakout role in the 2008 critically acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire, the 26-year-old star admitted his first role almost got in the way of landing the character that would earn him his first Oscar nomination. 

"There were a lot of reservations about me being the guy from Slumdog. They're like, 'We've seen that. We need someone fresh and new and hungry,' and they just wanted someone that could really transform for the role," he revealed to E!'s Giuliana Rancic live on the red carpet at the 2017 SAG Awards

"I had to go in and really prove myself and fight against this preconceived notion that everyone had in the room, which made me want it even more really."

Today, he's a SAG Award nominee for his performance in Lion, a movie Patel said "really changed my life in a really big way."

"I know it sounds really cliche, but the script—you read the first 30 pages and you're following this tiny boy in this suffocating city alone and he doesn't say much, but the way it's written so poetically and viscerally—I was in tears," he continued. "It's just one of those journeys that never really come around."

Nicole Kidman, Dev Patel

Rob Kim/Getty Images

As for that first Oscar nomination, "it still hasn't fully sunk in. I'm overwhelmingly just grateful and freaked out equally."

His on-screen mother, Nicole Kidman, also arrived to the annual ceremony as a nominee for the ninth time. Patel had nothing but compliments to pay the iconic actress. 

 "She's so warm and tactile," he said. "We fell into these characters immediately."

One thing she couldn't help him with was remembering to bring his ticket for the award show. "I forgot my ticket, so I nearly didn't get in," he revealed. 

For complete SAG Awards coverage, watch E! News Monday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. And don't miss the Fashion Police 2017 SAG Awards special Monday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m., only on E!