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Riz Ahmed Is The First Muslim To Win An Academy Award For Live-Action

Riz Ahmed is the British-Pakistani actor that paved his way in Hollywood. From being known as Riz MC on London’s underground rap and hip-hop scene, to starring in independent British TV, Britz (2007) and Dead Set (2008), and films such as The Road to Guantánamo (2006), Shifty (2008), Four Lions (2010), Trishna (2011), Ill Manors (2012), and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2013), before his breakout role in the film Nightcrawler (2014).

In 2016 he went on to appear in action movie, Jason Bourne and also starred as Bodhi Rook in the Star Wars Anthology film Rogue One and HBO miniseries, The Night Of, which earned him critical acclaim.

At the 2017 Emmy Awards, he received two nominations, for his performance in The Night Of and his guest role in Girls and went on to win the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, becoming the first Muslim male to win an acting Emmy and the first Muslim and first Muslim to win a lead acting Emmy.

Going on to play Carlton Drake and voice Riot in the film Venom (2018), and Ruben Stone in Sound of Metal (2020), the latter of which earned him widespread critical acclaim, his second Golden Globe nomination (following The Night Of) and his first Academy Award nomination, making him the first Muslim to be nominated for Best Actor.

This year he made history and won an Oscar for co-writing and starring in Aneil Karia’s “The Long Goodbye.”

In his acceptance speech for the award, Riz Ahmed spoke about the importance of harmony in “such divided times,” and dedicated his award to those “who feel like they don’t belong,” as he said on stage in Hollywood, “We believe that the role of story is to remind us there is no ‘us’ and ‘them.’ There’s just ‘us.’ This is for everyone who feels like they don’t belong. Anyone who feels like they’re stuck in no man’s land. You’re not alone. We’ll meet you there. That’s where the future is.”

“The Long Goodbye” is a short film that conveys the story of a South Asian family from a suburb in the UK who are preparing for a wedding before their lives are violently turned upside-down by masked militants.

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