Riz Ahmed proud to be the first Muslim nominated for Best Actor Oscar
Riz Ahmed is so proud to be the first Muslim to be nominated for the Best Actor Oscar.
The 38-year-old actor is up for the Oscar for his role as drummer Ruben Stone in 'Sound of Metal', who slowly loses his hearing after playing in a rock band – and hopes both the Muslim and deaf communities will appreciate his appearance at the ceremony later this month.
Riz said: "What matters to me is, as many people as possible can find themselves in this moment.
"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.
"If some people are overjoyed to see it's a film that focuses on deaf representation, which is something really lacking in cinema and they connect more with that, then that's 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 cool."
Riz believes that his history-making recognition from the Academy is down to society moving forward as this year's Oscars features the most diverse group of nominees to date.
He told the BBC: "But I think what's really important is looking at the whole field of nominees and seeing there are so many firsts.
"Steven Yeun is the first Asian-American actor, Sir Anthony Hopkins is the oldest, Chadwick Boseman's posthumous nomination – first time for a black actor in that position.
"So I just think it is nice to be part of a moment where we all seem to be moving forward together as a culture."
Riz – who has earned critical acclaim as a rapper - also revealed that he will be wearing ear plugs at gigs in the future having seen the effect that hearing loss had on his character.
He said: "It's certainly made me realise I need to take ear plugs with me into venues.
"It's something I started doing years ago when I realised friends of mine, DJs, had started, kind of sadly, losing bits of their hearing. It's very, very common within music."