Riz Ahmed opens up about being first Muslim nominated for the Oscar’s Best Lead Actor

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DUBAI: British actor Riz Ahmed recently made history by becoming the first Muslim to be nominated in the Best Lead Actor category at the Oscars.

This week, in an interview with BBC, the actor spoke about how he feels to have made history.

Ahmed, 38, was nominated for his role in “Sound of Metal,” which tells the story of Ruben, a rock-and-roll drummer and recovering addict whose life is sent into a tailspin when he loses his hearing.

“What matters to me is as many people as possible can find themselves at this moment,” he said. “So, some people really connect with the idea that I was the first Muslim nominated for lead actor, that’s beautiful and I support that.”

The actor also said others focused on deaf representation, “which is something that is so lacking in cinema.”

“But I think what’s really important is looking at the whole field of nominees and seeing there are so many firsts,” he said, pointing out that Steven Yeun is the first Asian-American actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins is the oldest, and Chadwick Boseman as the first actor ever nominated posthumously.

Muslims have seen Oscar success in the past, but this is the first time one has been nominated for the coveted lead actor award.

American-Muslim Mahershala Ali took home two Oscars for supporting actors for his roles in “Moonlight” in 2017 and “Green Book” in 2019, but a nomination for lead roles has eluded him.

Ahmed will compete against the six-time nominee and one-time winner Anthony Hopkins, one-time winner Gary Oldman, the late Chadwick Boseman, and Steven Yeun. The Oscars will take place on April 25.

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