That the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt have received Oscar nominations for the Best Actor in a Leading Role trophy at the 84th Annual Academy Awards is no surprise. The surprise of the category is Mexican actor Demian Bichir. The 48-year-old actor has been acting since he was 14.

Mexican-born
Mexican-born actor Damien Bichir is nominated for best actor at the 2012 Academy Award. Phot credit: oscar.go.com/nominees

Bichir received the nod for his role in the movie A Better Life. The Chris Weitz-directed drama is said to be based on a story by Roger L. Simon. Bichir portrays the role of Carlos Galindo, an undocumented Mexican gardener who is fighting to create a better life for himself and his son. It is his first Academy Award nomination.

I'm overwhelmed for having my name among those incredible actors, Bichir noted in a statement. This could have never happened if Chris Weitz had not been the head of this film. He is my brother and I thank him deeply.

Bichir also told Us Weekly that he hopes more people visit iTunes and Netflix to see the film.

That will be the biggest reward we could get, he said. I dedicate this nomination to those 11 million human beings who make our lives easier and better in the U.S.

Here are some other interesting facts about Demian Bichir:

- He is born Demián Bichir Nájera on Aug. 1, 1963 in Mexico City.

- His acting career began at 14 in the telenovela Rina.

- His first movie role was in the American production Choices of the Heart. 

- His breakthrough Spanish-language film role was in Sexo, pudor y lagrimas (Sex, Shame and Tears). It is  a 1999 comedy and one of Mexico's highest-grossing films.

- In the U.S., he is best known as Tijuana mayor Esteban Reyes on Showtime's Weeds  and for taking on the part of Fidel Castro in Che.

Watch Bichir in A Better Life below:

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