Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Antonio Banderas is celebrating his first Oscar nomination.
The 59-year-old actor said on Tuesday's episode of Good Morning America that it's an unbelievable experience to be nominated for Best Actor for the film Pain and Glory at the upcoming Academy Awards.
Banderas plays Salvador Mallo, a film director in decline who reflects on his life, in Pain and Glory. Banderas said he was at a restaurant in his hometown of Málaga in Spain when he received word of his Oscar nomination.
"I was having lunch with the mayor of the town," Banderas recalled. "I looked at [my phone] and I saw that the movie was nominated for Best Foreign Film. I thought, 'Well, I'm very happy but my nomination already passed.'"
"Suddenly, I am in the middle of lunch and the phone started 'beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep.' I look and it was 300 messages. 'You've been nominated.' 50 minutes after that, there were like 100 paparazzis at the door of the restaurant. It was unbelievable," he said.
Banderas said Americans may be surprised by how important the Oscars are in countries outside the U.S.
"You have no idea how important they are around the world. It's very strong," he said.
Banderas said it meant a lot to be nominated for this particular film.
"For someone like me to get a nomination in a little movie, speaking my own language, Spanish. It's a big deal," he said.
Pain and Glory is directed by Pedro Almodóvar, whom Banderas has worked with on seven other films. The movie co-stars Penélope Cruz, Raúl Arévalo, Leonardo Sbaraglia and Asier Etxeandia.