03/05/2014 AT 5:15 PM ET
Getting an Oscar nomination is a great honor, but as Barkhad Abdi is learning, it doesn’t pay the bills.
The former limo driver was paid just $65,000 for his work on the film, which went on to make almost $218 million. And while he won a BAFTA award and scored Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG nominations, the Somali native was living on a per diem while he was in L.A. for awards season and wore loaner clothes.
According to The New Yorker he even asked not the stay at the fancy Beverly Hilton but at a hotel near Los Angeles airport so that he could be near a friend who would drive him around for free.
Abdi, who was working at his brother’s mobile phone store in Minneapolis but quit after Captain Phillips came out, is planning to move to L.A. to pursue an acting career. He’s in talks to star as South African runner Willie Mtolo in the upcoming film The Place That Hits the Sun, according to the Hollywood Reporter.