Riz Ahmed, the man behind Rogue One‘s Bodhi Rook, has received his first Oscar nomination for the role of Ruben in Sound of Metal, the first time a Muslim actor has been nominated for Best Actor and another nomination for a Star Wars actor in an awards season that has already seen John Boyega take home a Golden Globe.
Actor Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar when he took home the statuette for supporting actor for “Moonlight” in 2017 and won the same prize in 2019 for “Green Book.”
Ahmed previously was the first Muslim, and first Asian, to win a lead acting Emmy in 2017 when he picked up the prize for lead actor in a limited series or movie for “The Night of.” The 38-year-old British-Pakistani actor’s Oscar nomination alongside Steven Yeun for “Minari” makes it the first time two actors of Asian descent have been nominated for lead actor in the same year.
“To be honest, I just feel like however people can find themselves in this moment, however they can find a connection to this moment, is beautiful to me,” he said. “Some people may connect to the fact that it’s the first Muslim, some people might say British Pakistani, some people might say first person from Wembley in London, what matters to me is that these moments of celebration, these moments of collective recognition, are actually moments where as many people as possible can recognize themselves in it.
“And so that’s all that really matters to me,” Ahmed said. “And I’m really pleased if this is an opportunity for more people than ever before to connect to a moment like this.”
Huge congrats to Riz for the nomination and best of luck when the awards are handed out on 25th April.