HomeCultureRiz Ahmed becomes the first Muslim to win Oscar

Riz Ahmed becomes the first Muslim to win Oscar


Los Angeles, 29 March 2022 (TDI): British-Pakistani actor and rapper, Riz Ahmed, becomes the first Muslim actor and the first actor with Asian heritage to win an Oscar (Academy Award) for the critically acclaimed live-action short film, The Long Goodbye.

The film is directed by Aneil Karia and stars Riz Ahmed. Karia and Ahmed are both also the co-writer of the film which was nominated for best live-action short at the 94th Academy Awards held on Sunday in Los Angeles, US.

Riz Ahmed and Aneil Karia win the Oscar for The Long Goodbye

In his acceptance speech, Ahmed 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’. 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.”

The Long Goodbye was originally intended to be a theatre play featuring rap, but because of Covid-19, it was turned into an online production. The plot centers around an immigrant family preparing their home for a wedding celebration in London. when a right-wing march gets out of control and chaos ensues, things take a turn for the worse.

The film features songs from Ahmed’s album of the same name, released in 2021, and reflects on his identity as a British Pakistani musician.

The political activism of Riz Ahmed:

As a Muslim, Ahmed has spoken openly, on multiple occasions and on platforms, about the negative stereotyping of Muslims in both a personal and cultural setting. As an activist, he has advocated for representation in the House of Commons and raised donations for Syrian refugee children. He has also worked to raise awareness of the displacement of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar, as well as to raise donations for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

The Riz test:

Ahmed inspired Sadia Habib and Shaf Choudry, two UK researchers, to devise a way to measure the nature of Muslim representation in cinema and television in 2018. They eventually came up with a test called “The Riz Test,” which was inspired by Ahmed’s speech in the House of Commons in 2017 in which he addressed what he sees as a lack of diversity in cinema and television. The Riz Test has been compared to the Bechdel test which measures the representation of women in fiction.

Ahmed has spoken out on the lack of accurate portrayal of Muslims in the media and often expresses these views on social media platforms.

Aiman Iqbal
Aiman Iqbalhttps://thediplomaticinsight.com/
Aiman Iqbal is the Managing Editor at the Journal of Peace and Diplomacy published by the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies (IPDS), and the Assistant Editor of The Diplomatic Insight magazine. She holds an MPhil in International Relations. She can be reached at aimaniqbal106@gmail.com

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