Demián Bichir: Get to Know the SAG Nominee (and What He Did to Celebrate!)

Demian Bichir A Better Life SAG Nominee
Demián Bichir
Todd Williamson/Wireimage

updated 12/15/2011 at 02:40 PM EST

originally published 12/15/2011 05:00PM

Demián Bichir, star of the movie A Better Life, may not be a household name, but after a SAG nomination for best actor alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, he better get used to being in the company of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Already well known in his home country, the Mexican-born actor, 48, is about to become more familiar to the rest of the world, too. Here are a few things about him.

1. He got lightheaded after his SAG nomination
When PEOPLE asked Bichir how he felt after his unexpected nomination for his role as an immigrant father in the drama A Better Life, he said, jokingly, "I really don't feel anything. I am a little numb right now. But then that may be because I am drunk. I have been drinking tequila all morning."





Bichir admits that aside from being recognized by his acting peers, "the honor is doubled because of the amazing actors I am nominated with. So this is a happy moment for me."

2. This isn't his first SAG nomination
You may recognize Bichir from Weeds, where he played Mary-Louise Parker's Mexican kingpin boyfriend Esteban. He was nominated in 2009 as a member of the Weeds ensemble.

"I remember going to that SAG ceremony that year, thinking, 'Wow, everyone is here. They are all at the same tables as me. Maybe I really am part of this.' "

3. He has a thing for playing famous Latin American revolutionaries – and animated characters
Known for taking on serious roles, Bichir played Fidel Castro in Steven Soderbergh's Che and Emiliano Zapata on the TV mini-series Zapata: Amor en rebeldia. But he's also delivered the singing voice of Aladdin in the Spanish dub of the animated Disney hit.

4. He comes from a long line of actors
Bichir was born into a prominent acting family. His father Alejandro Bichir, mother Maricruz Najera and two brothers Bruno and Odiseo Bichir are all well-known actors in their native Mexico.

"My family is a theater family. I always knew I wanted to do this forever, especially when I became 17," he told PEOPLE. "That was the first time I did a lead in a play. I remember thinking, 'It would be really nice if the whole world could get to know my work.' "



5. He still gets starstruck
The actor says he's seen his fellow nominees George Clooney and Brad Pitt around town, but admits to being in awe of them.

"I remember running into Brad and Angelina right before going through the red carpet. That was pretty amazing," he said. "It is amazing honor that I am with these guys. These are people I have admired and been big fans of them for many, many years."

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