Riz Ahmed: First Ever Muslim Nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars

Riz Ahmed earned the title of the first Muslim and Pakistani actor to bag a nomination for the Best Actor’s category for this year's Academy Awards.

Riz Ahmed earned the title of the first Muslim and first actor of Pakistani origin to bag a nomination for the Best Actor Male category for this year’s Academy Awards. He earned the nomination for his stellar performance in Amazon Video’s Sound of Metal. The movie has been nominated for a total of six Academy Awards in 2021 — best picture, best actor, best supporting actor for Paul Raci, best original screenplay, best editing, and best sound.

Following this momentous announcement, the Rogue One star said this moment was for anyone who can find themselves inspired and connected by it.
In an interview with Deadline, Riz Ahmed said: “If there’s a way in which people can find themselves in this moment, and can feel inspired and connected on a deeper level, I’m all for it.”

“Whether they see me as the first British Pakistani or the first guy from Wembley, you know, there are so many ways to view it,” Riz Ahmed said.

“But as long as it feels like an opportunity for more people than ever before to really connect and feel included in this moment, that’s a blessing,” Ahmed continued.

Addressing the nomination of nine non-white actors across the four acting categories, Riz Ahmed said: “It’s why we do it, to stretch our hearts and stretch our minds, and in the process stretch culture.”

He also spoke about why he saw it as extremely crucial.
“We should stretch culture so that it’s big enough and wide enough and expansive enough so that there’s space for all of us to find ourselves in it, to feel that we belong and that we’re included, and that we matter,” Riz Ahmed said.

“These changes aren’t just good politically or socially. It’s something which allows stories and storytelling to get back to its original intention, which is to embrace all of us.”

Moreover, Riz Ahmed is not the only one making history. Steven Yeun, who is also running for Best Actor this year, is also the first Asian-American nominee to be included in the ceremony’s 93-year history.





The Oscars will air on Sunday, April 25 on ABC at 8 pm ET.

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