The film has hauled in AUD22.7 million (USD17.4 million) at the box office Down Under in just five weeks to become the eighth biggest Australian-made film, ahead of Mad Max: Fury Road and 1992's Strictly Ballroom.

Experts predict it will leapfrog Crocodile Dundee II, The Great Gatsby and Kidman's Moulin Rouge! and hit the top five before the end of its cinematic run.

The film, based on the true story of an adopted Tasmanian man who used Google Earth to track down his birth family in India, is up for a Best Picture Academy Award on Sunday (26Feb17), while Patel and Kidman are nominated for supporting actor and actress honours.

Dev became a real Oscars contender last week after winning a BAFTA Award in London for his role as Saroo Brierley. He is now bookmakers' second favourite to win the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award this weekend, behind Moonlight's Mahershala Ali.

Director Garth Davis' film is also up for Best Cinematography, Best Music and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Lion has been a big global hit, with international box office takings just shy of $100 million from a budget of an estimated $12 million.

But it still has some way to go to compete with Crocodile Dundee for Australia's top film - the 1986 movie grossed almost AUD48 million (USD37 million) Down Under.

The rest of the current top five is another Kidman film, Australia, at two, beloved pig tale Babe at three, animated penguin movie Happy Feet at four and Moulin Rouge! at five.