Riz Ahmed made history in the year 2021, as the first Muslim actor to be nominated for an Academy Award in the leading category. His performance in the film Sound of Metal has earned him a nomination. He is a British actor of Pakistani descent.
If he wins in his category, Riz would become the first Muslim actor to win the Oscar for Best Actor in the Lead category. In 2017 and in the year 2019, it was Mahershala Ali who became the first Muslim to win an Oscar for Moonlight and Green Book. However, he had won the prize in the Best Supporting Actor category.
During an interaction with Los Angeles Times, Riz Ahmed said:
To be honest, I just feel like however people can find themselves at this moment, however, they can find a connection to this moment, is beautiful to me. Some people may connect to the fact that it's the first Muslim, some people might say British Pakistani, some people might say the first person from Wembley in London, what matters to me is that these moments of celebration, these moments of collective recognition, are actually moments whereas many people as possible can recognise themselves in it. And so that's all that really matters to me."
Riz scored an Oscar nomination for his lead performance in Sound of Metal which also scored points in other categories such as Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Editing, Sound and Supporting Actor for Paul Raci. The film is presently available on Amazon Prime Video.
At the BAFTA, Riz Ahmed will also be competing with Indian actor Adarsh Gourav, who excelled in the Netflix film The White Tiger.