The Big Sick, the movie the couple wrote about their romance, chronicles the period when Gordon fell inexplicably ill and was put into a medically induced coma early in their relationship. But the Pakistani-born Nanjiani, who was also facing family pressure to enter into an arranged marriage, stuck by his then-girlfriend while simultaneously trying to placate his parents and keep his relationship with Gordon a secret.
But had Nanjiani been the one to become sick, their story could have had a very different ending, they said on the Oscars red carpet Sunday.
“She’d be gone,” the Silicon Valley star, 40, said during the PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly Red Carpet Live pre-show on the Academy Awards red carpet. “She would have left. That would have been the difference.”
Gordon, 38, added, “I would have been very rebellious from the start and I would have already been like, ‘I’m going to marry who I want to marry.’ I think I would have burned more bridges.”
Luckily, the story turned out to have a happy ending, and now they’re truly enjoying the positive attention the film they created is getting — even if they don’t expect to take home any awards.
“We are the underdogs,” Nanjiani explained. “We are just happy to be here. You know people say, ‘It’s an honor just to be nominated.’ It truly feels like that.”
“We kind of thought that was bull until now,” Gordon said. “Now we get it.”
And who knows? The couple may be back at next year’s Academy Awards, as they’re working on another project together.
“Sometimes it will be pancakes and sometimes it will be scripts,” Gordon said of their relationship.
The 2018 Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4 and will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.