Updated 16 Mar, 2021

Riz Ahmed just became Oscars' first-ever Muslim best actor nominee.

Ahmed accomplished the feat with his powerful performance in Amazon’s Sound of Metal, which has been nominated for six Academy Awards in 2021 — best picture, best actor, best supporting actor for Paul Raci, best original screenplay, best editing, and best sound.

However, 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.

“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.

“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.”

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. 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.”

In his film, Ahmed stars as a drummer who loses his hearing. For shoot, he had to really play the drums, learn American Sign Language (ASL) and essentially push himself to the limits playing this ex-heroin addict who with his hearing loss, fears that he may lose everything.

On set, he wore custom implants in his ears that emitted white noise and a high ringing to approximate tinnitus.

Sound of Metal first premiered in 2019 at TIFF and was then acquired for distribution by Amazon Studios.


SAk Mar 16, 2021 12:10pm
All the best Riz.
Chrís Dăn Mar 16, 2021 12:12pm
He is a great actor and a thinker first. A few can surpass him in his talents. His ethnicity is from Pakistan. He makes me feel proud indeed. He belongs to all art lovers .
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Mar 16, 2021 12:21pm
Welcome to the distinguished club and the unique clubhouse. As always, keep it up and hang on tough.
Browngirl Mar 16, 2021 12:40pm
Why Muslim? Why not a good actor. Segregating him based on his religion is highly racist. Do they say Jew Director Steven Spielberg?
Real issue Mar 16, 2021 12:46pm
oh ok..
Xxx Mar 16, 2021 01:07pm
What’s with the Muslim bit?
Krishna Mar 16, 2021 01:26pm
Muslim???? I've never seen anyone called Christian actor or Jewish actor before..... Pity
Baasha Mar 16, 2021 01:45pm
This shows lollywood is the world's best film industry and Hollywood and Bollywood are far behind.
Ahmad Mar 16, 2021 02:07pm
Why does it matter that he is Muslim?
SATT Mar 16, 2021 02:38pm
Artists have religion but terrorists don't have.
Farrukh Mar 16, 2021 02:40pm
You are religious politics by ignoring the fact Maharsha Ali has already won the best actor Oscar for his role in The Green Book. Shame on you!
Ali asaf Mar 16, 2021 03:58pm
Ss Mar 16, 2021 05:23pm
Excessive political correctness has rendered Oscar nominations meaningless. We can no longer be sure if a particular nominee is really worthy of the award or is being nominated to meet the requirements of political correctness. A pity really as talented non white, non Christian and female nominees will always have the shadow of political correctness over their triumphs. Sad, but such are the times we live in.
Ga Mar 16, 2021 05:27pm
Jari Khan Mar 16, 2021 05:27pm
It is wrong and misleading he is the first, in fact for readers Mahershallah ali is the first American Muslim actor to win the best actor award already. No doubt Riz is great actor as well, agree religion has nothing to do with the acting or anything for that matter as far as professionalism is concerned.
Ga Mar 16, 2021 05:29pm
@Baasha - Only Hollywood is a true movie industry. Bollywood is pure garbage. Same love story musicals for 80 yrs .
IndianObserver Mar 16, 2021 06:06pm
What is wrong with you guys, every thing you view through RELIGION, pls stop this virus in the word that is causing more hatread and destruction and peace, he is a Talented human being and you should be proud of his Pakistan hreitage,,, leve at that,,,,
Muzaffar A Tanweer Mar 16, 2021 06:14pm
I think Mahershala Ali was the first muslim who one Oscar. JazakAllah
Bharat Mar 16, 2021 06:24pm
It's really amazing how you guys find religion in everything. He is a good actor, irrespective of his religion.
Sachin Mar 16, 2021 06:37pm
Only Pakistan sees everything in the world as Muslim or nonMuslim identity. That is the cause of internal society turmoil
Feroze Khan Mar 16, 2021 06:51pm
@Browngirl You speak my mind. This kind of racism is always there.
A shah Mar 16, 2021 07:28pm
He works very closely with India and always refers to himself as India
Vasu Mar 16, 2021 08:04pm
Why is religion brought in this? If you say Actor of Pakistani origin, it makes lot of sense. But why religion?
I'm okay. Mar 16, 2021 10:21pm
He is a great actor. He deserves it if he wins.
AFriend Mar 16, 2021 11:51pm
He is British. His parents are perhaps Indian Muslims from Pakistan.
ambreen Mar 17, 2021 12:42am
BEST WISHES from fans
RationalBabu Mar 17, 2021 01:02am
@Ga obviously you have missed some outstanding movies from Bollywood although I agree most of them are mediocre but they still provide affordable entertainment and escapism for millions of ordinary people!
Fayzan Fayyaz Mirza Mar 17, 2021 02:34am
@Browngirl indeed it is. Just like referring to Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy as the first and only "Pakistani" Oscar winner. We shouldn't be categorizing her too then should we?
Moosa Al Athar Mar 17, 2021 04:50am
People who say Riz is not the first Muslim for the Oscar are so right. American Muslim Mahershala Ali two Oscars some years ago.
Kanishq Mar 17, 2021 05:30am
How was ms chinoy treated by fellow pakistani people?
Tariq Mar 17, 2021 08:12am
I thought Rami Malek who got Oscar for Bohemian Rhapsody is a Muslim. So why say Riz Ahmad as first Muslim?
HashBrown® Mar 17, 2021 04:13pm
@AFriend He is British. His parents are perhaps Indian Muslims from Pakistan." It makes his nomination even sweeter seeing how much you Hindustanis struggle in dealing with his identity.