Riz Ahmed has created cinematic history by becoming the the first Muslim nominated for ‘Best Actor’ at the Academy Awards.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who today announced the shortlist for those in consideration for the 93rd Oscars Awards ceremony, made Amazon production Sound of Metal a major talking point as the Darius Marder film was nominated for six Oscars: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor for Paul Raci, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Sound.
The move makes Ahmed a record-breaker, emerging as the first Muslim actor nominated for the big prize in the 93-year history of the prestigious event. “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,” Ahmed told Deadline about his history-making Oscar nomination. “Whether they see me as the first British Pakistani, or the first guy from Wembley, you know, there’s so many ways to view it. 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.”
Reacting to the news that the Academy Award made history by nominating nine non-white performers across the four acting categories, Ahmed added: “It’s why we do it, to stretch our hearts and stretch our minds, and in the process stretch culture. 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. These changes aren’t just something that’s 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.”
Speaking in an official statement released to the press, Ahmed continued his sentiment, explaining: “I’m honoured to be nominated by my fellow actors alongside such inspiring performances, and am grateful to the Academy for their support and encouragement. I’m equally thrilled for our visionary writer-director Darius Marder and the brilliant Paul Raci, as well as our editor Mikkel, sound designer Nicolas, and co-writer Abe Marder. These nominations represents the time, generosity and talents of so many — all of our incredible cast, crew, producers, and in particular I’d like to thank my mentors in the drumming, addiction recovery, and D/deaf communities.”
See the trailer for the film, below.