Riz Ahmed Makes History as the First Muslim to Win an Oscar for a Live Action Short Film

Last night, Riz Ahmed made history after he became the first Muslim to win an award for a live-action short film at the Oscars.

The British-Pakistani actor secured his win for Aneil Karia’s The Long Goodbye, which he also co-wrote and starred in. In his acceptance speech, which was not given any screen-time unfortunately, the thirty-nine-year-old said: “In such divided times, we believe that the role of story is to remind us there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. There’s just ‘us’.

He continued: “This is for everyone who feels like they don’t belong. Anyone who feels like they’re stuck in no man’s land. You’re not alone. We’ll meet you there. That’s where the future is. Peace.”

Credit: Instagram / @RizAhmed

Despite it not being aired, the moment gained a lot of traction on social media, with both South Asians and Muslims all around the world congratulating the actor on his prestigious win.

“He may be the first but he will not be the last! So amazing to see.”

Another wrote: “I don’t think that anyone’s religion has to do with awards. Appreciate for his hard work, not identity,” but was quickly shut down with some great replies.

“It has everything to do with it! Representation matters! He’s breaking stereotypes for Muslims all over the world! He’s showing the world who we are, other than what Fox News spews out! It matters! He’s laying the groundwork for us, he’s building the foundation! It matters!” one user said.

Another added: “When it’s about negative publicity, it matters When it’s about achievements, it doesn’t matter.”

“Would be really nice to see TO ACTUALLY SEE this historic moment,” someone else added.

Agreed. The moment deserved a global platform.

The Long Goodbye is a twelve-minute film that tells the story of an immigrant family in Britain that is preparing their home for a wedding until a right-wing march spirals out of control and ends their celebrations tragically.

The short received a very respectable 7.2-star rating out of 10 on IMDb and has now been credited with an Oscar. Not only that, but it also champions South-Asian actors and raises awareness about the issues immigrant families in the UK face on a daily – I would say that’s enough to call it an overall success for representation, wouldn’t you?

Credit: Instagram / @RizAhmed

Ahmed was also nominated for an Oscar last year for his role in Sound of Metal but lost out to Anthony Hopkins who instead snagged the win for The Father. He, along with Steven Yuen, who was also nominated, made history as it was the first time two Asian men had been nominated for best actor.