Over the last decade or so, Riz Ahmed has built up an acclaimed body of work that’s marked him out as one of the best actors of his generation, displaying incredible range and versatility across a number of projects in multiple genres in both film and television, and scoring a few high profile blockbuster roles as well.
The 38 year-old has now taken to social media, though, and called for an end to Hollywood’s regularly negative portrayals of the Muslim community, as you can see below.
I'm fed up of seeing Muslim characters on screen either negative or non existent. The industry must change. Our new study proves what many of us always felt about #MuslimsInFilm. The cost is measured in hate & lost lives. Full speech here: https://t.co/bsfpQw4Wfe pic.twitter.com/2itt6IaESB
— Riz Ahmed (@rizwanahmed) June 10, 2021
Ahmed recently became the first Muslim to ever land an Academy Award nomination in the Best Actor or Actress categories for his phenomenal performance as a drummer dealing with hearing loss in Sound of Metal, but he’s one of a very small few to receive such recognition.
In fact, when Shohreh Aghdashloo snagged a Best Supporting Actress nod for House of Sand and Fog in 2003, she was the first Muslim acting nominee since Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia 39 years previously. During the 93 years of the Academy Awards, only four Muslims in total have been shortlisted for their work in front of the camera, and the only one to ever win is Mahershala Ali thanks to his pair of Best Supporting Actor trophies.
We’re all aware of the many one-dimensional and sometimes offensive portrayals seen on the big and small screens over the years, and Riz Ahmed is hoping to be at the forefront of changing these long-held perceptions within the industry. And as arguably one of Hollywood’s two most prominent Muslim actors alongside the aforementioned Ali, he’s in a very good position to ensure that it happens, while his recent hot streak of success will no doubt lead to the Venom and Rogue One star receiving better offers than ever before.