Riz Ahmed nominated in Oscars as first Muslim Best Actor

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* If that wasn’t enough, Ahmed’s nomination in the category alongside ‘Minari’ star Steven Yeun marks the first time two Asian actors are in the running for Best Actor at the Oscars

British actor Riz Ahmed made history on Monday as the first Muslim actor to bag a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars.

The 38-year-old actor, who also holds the distinction of being the first Muslim and Asian to win a Primetime Emmy in 2017, is now the first actor of Pakistani descent to land an Oscar nomination for his role in Sound of Metal.

If that wasn’t enough, Ahmed’s nomination in the category alongside ‘Minari’ star Steven Yeun marks the first time two Asian actors are in the running for Best Actor at the Oscars in the same year.

Talking to Deadline later in the day, ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ actor dedicated his historic feat to anyone who finds themselves inspired and connected with it.

In another interview with The Los Angeles Times, Ahmed said, “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”

Talking to Deadline later in the day, ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ actor dedicated his historic feat to anyone who finds themselves inspired and connected with it

“What matters to me is that these moments of celebration, these moments of collective recognition, are actually moments where as many people as possible can recognize themselves in it.”

Ahmed also lauded the Academy’s drive for diversity since 2016 for making it possible for a wider range of films being able to make it to the big stage. “It’s why we do it, to stretch our hearts and stretch our minds, and in the process stretch culture,” he told Deadline.

“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.”

Sound of Metal, directed by Darius Marder, walked away with an impressive six nominations at the Oscars including for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, Best Sound, and Best Film Editing.

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