Jan. 21, 2014 -- Barkhad Abdi is the epitome of an overnight success story.
The "Captain Phillips" star, who was nominated for an Oscar last week, was working in his brother's store in Minnesota this time last year.
"It's not normal for me yet," Abdi told ABC News. "I never pictured myself as a famous person. I like the essence of film making and storytelling. The fame part, I'm just trying to take it easy."
Abdi, 28, who also was a limo driver before his big break, earned critical acclaim opposite Tom Hanks in just his first role on the big screen.
"I was worried of what people would think when the movie came out," he admits. "At this time [last year] I hadn't seen it. I was nervous."
Abdi, who plays a pirate and hijacker in "Captain Phillips," said the response to his performance has been amazing and that "everyone is loving it."
"A lot of big names have come to me and tell me [about] the good job that I did," he said. "It's unbelievable."
But being nominated as Best Supporting Actor with the likes of Bradley Cooper, Jonah Hill and Jared Leto hasn't changed Abdi one bit. He still lives in Minnesota, is trying to move to Los Angeles and said he hasn't even thought about the possibility of winning an Academy Award.
"That's a little mind blowing, I'm not ready for that," he said. "I was passionate about film making before this, I didn't see myself as an actor."
Abdi actually had aspirations of being a director behind the camera, but when this opportunity arose, he jumped at the chance. Now, he relishes being on screen, even if he has to play the bad guy.
"You know, I don't mind being a villain," he said. "What's more important is the story. At the end of it, you tell the story whether you are the hero or the villain."
In keeping with his humble personality, the new movie star hasn't begun buying any lavish gifts to celebrate his stardom.
"I'm not big into buying stuff, I'm a simple guy," he said. "I bought a car, not that big name of a car, a Saab. I'm not into big name stuff."