Riz Ahmed has spoken of his pride in being able to connect with a wider audience after being the first Muslim to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor.
The 38-year-old actor is running for the award for his role as drummer Ruben Stone on Sound of Metal, a musician who slowly loses his hearing after playing in a rock band.
Riz said she hopes both the Muslim and deaf community will appreciate her appearance at the ceremony later this month.
Role Model: Riz Ahmed has spoken of his pride in being able to connect with a wider audience after being the first Muslim to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor.
Riz told the BBC: ‘What matters to me is that as many people as possible can be found right now.
‘So some people really connect with the idea that I was the first Muslim nominated for a lead actor, that’s beautiful and I support it.
“If some people are delighted to see that it is a film that focuses on the representation of the deaf, that it is something that is really lacking in cinema and they connect more with that, then it is beautiful.”
The Four Lions star added: ‘If for some people they’re rooting for the fact that it’s someone from Wembley … then that’s fine.’
Character: The 38-year-old actor is running for the award for his role as drummer Ruben Stone on Sound of Metal, who slowly loses his hearing after playing in a rock band.
Riz believes that his historical recognition by the Academy is due to the advancement of society, as this year’s Oscars feature the most diverse group of nominees to date.
He added: ‘But I think the really important thing is to look at the whole field of nominees and see that there are so many first.
‘Steven Yeun is the first Asian-American actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins is the oldest, posthumous nomination by Chadwick Boseman, the first time for a black actor in that role.
Hard: Riz won rave reviews for his portrayal of Ruben Stone, a rock and roll drummer and recovering alcoholic whose life falls into free fall when he loses his hearing.
“So I think it’s nice to be part of a time when we all seem to move forward together as a culture.”
Riz, who has earned critical acclaim as a rapper, also revealed that he will wear earplugs to concerts in the future after seeing the effect hearing loss had on his character.
He said: ‘It certainly made me realize that I need to bring earplugs to places.
“It’s something I started doing years ago when I realized that my friends, the DJs, had sadly started losing some of their hearing. It’s very, very common in music. ‘
Riz earned rave reviews for his portrayal of Ruben Stone, a rock and roll drummer and recovering alcoholic whose life falls into free fall when he loses his hearing.
American actor Mahershala Ali was the first Muslim to win an Oscar when he was named best supporting actor for Moonlight in 2017, and he won the same award in 2019 for Green Book.
Upon hearing the news, Riz tweeted earlier this month: ‘Wow! I am honored to be nominated by my fellow actors along with such inspiring performances, and I am grateful to the Academy for their support and encouragement. ‘
The actor was praised for his ‘passionate performance’ on Sound Of Metal, for which he prepared by learning percussion and American Sign Language, as well as attending Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
Previously, he was the first Muslim to win an Emmy for leading actor in 2017 for his performance in The Night Of.
It was announced last week that the 93rd Academy Awards would not only take place between two locations in Los Angeles, but also an additional ‘British hub’ despite other awards programs opting to follow the ‘virtual’ route amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
And it appears that the producers of the awards ceremony have an additional trick up their sleeve.
The Oscars, to be held on Sunday, April 25, will be produced by 2001 Best Director Award winner Steven Soderbergh as well as his collaborator Stacey Sher and pandemic awards expert Jesse Collins.
The trio recently spoke with Vanity Fair about top-secret and ever-changing plans for Hollywood’s biggest night, including the creation of an outpost in Europe, which was announced last week, after a backlash that It came after saying that Zoom for the nominees would not be an option.
Interesting: The Oscars, which will air on Sunday April 25, will take place between two locations in Los Angeles, the ‘British center’ and a ‘secret’ location.