English actor Riz Ahmed made history on Monday after becoming the first Muslim to ever be nominated for the Oscars for Best Actor at the Academy Awards due to his acclaimed performance in Amazon’s “Sound of Metal.”
The film is also up 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.
“Wow! 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…” the actor expressed on Twitter.
In a conversation with Deadline, Riz Ahmed shared his feelings on what it feels like to make history and become the first Muslim to be nominated for a leading role. “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 said, “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.”
Steven Yuen also became the first Asian-American nominated as Best Actor for “Minari,” and will compete against Riz Ahmed, the first Pakistani-origin star nominated.
Following the Black Lives Matter movement, which led to calls for an end to social injustices and racism, the Oscars’ made history this year by nominating nine non-white performers across the four acting categories.