Ashley, 37, posted a screenshot listing the nominees in Austin's category–including Paul Mescal for Aftersun, Colin Farrell for The Banshees of Inisherin, Brendan Fraser for The Whale and Bill Nighy for Living—to her Instagram Stories Jan. 24, writing, circling his name. Alongside a trio of crying emojis, she wrote, "My best friend is nominated for an Oscar."
Meanwhile, Austin reflected on his nomination in a statement, expressing his gratitude for director Baz Luhrmann.
"Three years ago I got the role of a lifetime and have been living in a dream ever since," he said. "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. Thank you to the Academy for recognizing our film and so many of the creatives involved."
Austin also noted that he shares this "surreal moment" with director Baz; co-stars Tom Hanks and Olivia DeJonge; producer Catherine Martin; cinematographer Mandy Walker; producer Gail Berman and "the entire cast and crew of Elvis."
"To my fellow nominees, your work is inspiring and I am proud to be in this moment with you," he continued. "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."
What's more? Ashley's other BFF, Austin's ex Vanessa Hudgens—who he dated from 2011 to 2020—may be to thank for the 31-year-old taking on the role of Elvis in the first place. The Golden Globe winner recently explained that it was a "friend" who convinced him he was perfect for the part, and he was potentially referring to the Princess Switch actress.
"The month before I heard that Baz was making the movie, I was going to look at Christmas lights with a friend," he recalled during The Hollywood Reporter's Actors Roundtable Jan. 10. "And there was an Elvis Christmas song on the radio and I was singing along and my friend looked over at me and goes, ‘You've got to play Elvis.' I said, 'Oh, that's such a long shot.'"
He added that weeks later she nudged him further after seeing him play the piano.
"I never really sang for any of my friends or anything," he continued. "That same friend was there and I was playing the piano. She said, ‘I'm serious. You gotta figure out how you can get the rights to a script.' Then my agent called and said, ‘So Baz Luhrmann is making an Elvis film.'"
Of course, Austin's story is reminiscent of one Vanessa told in 2019 following his casting as the King of Rock ‘n' Roll.
"Last December, we were driving along and we were listening to Christmas music, and then an Elvis Presley Christmas song came on," the 34-year-old recalled on Live with Kelly and Ryan at the time. "He had just dyed his hair dark. He's a natural blonde, blonde and I was looking at him and he was singing along and I was like, ‘Babe, you need to play Elvis.'"
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