Austin Butler says receiving an Oscar nomination for his role as Elvis Presley in the Baz Luhrmann-directed biopic "feels like a dream."
"It's very surreal," he told Good Morning America.
Butler, 31, who recently won a Golden Globe for his role in Elvis, recalled how he landed the film's lead role, and how actor Denzel Washington and Butler's ex-girlfriend played a part.
"Denzel was very kind, and we've done a play together and, I mean, he's my hero," Butler said. "So I am very grateful to him because he sort of called Baz and vouched for me after we worked together."
Although it wasn't a childhood dream to play Elvis, Butler said, "It was kind of this moment of all the stars aligning when I heard that Baz was making a movie. Now we're here. It's so surreal."
Butler's nomination comes almost two weeks after the death of Lisa Marie Presley — the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley — with whom Butler became close during the movie's production. Lisa Marie came out to support Butler and the film earlier this month at the Golden Globes.
When asked about what he thought Lisa Marie would say about his nomination in particular and the film's seven other Oscar nominations, Butler said, "I know she's smiling down right now."
"You know, life is full of so many ups and downs, and while this is such a positive moment, the grief is just so deep with the loss of Lisa Marie," he continued. "I know she'd be really happy right now."
He called his relationship with her "the most meaningful thing to me."