Riz Ahmed, who played the role of a drummer who begins to lose his hearing in the Sound of Metal charted history by becoming the first Muslim to be nominated in the leading actor category at the Academy Awards.

This is also for the first time that two Asian actors have been nominated in the Best Actor category. Nine of the 20 acting nods went to non-white performers, including Riz and a South Korean Yuh-Jung Youn of Minari, in what Variety Magazine described as the most diverse acting Oscars slate ever.

Sharing his excitement on social media, Riza said: “Wow! I’m honoured to be nominated by my fellow actors alongside such inspiring performances, and am grateful to the Academy for their support and encouragement.”


“I’m equally thrilled for our visionary writer-director Darius Marder and the brilliant Paul Raci As well as our editor Mikkel, sound designer Nicolas, and co-writer Abe Marder,” he added.

“These nominations represent the time, generosity and talents of so many — all of our incredible cast, crew, producers,” said the actor further. “Sound of Metal is about how a health crisis can cut you off from your life and loved ones, and force you to grow in unexpected ways. In a challenging year for so many, I hope this story can inspire us to forge new and deeper connections with ourselves and others.”

“And in particular I’d like to thank my mentors in the drumming, addiction recovery, and D/dead communities” Riz concluded.

Meanwhile, six nods each were earned by the other best picture contenders The Father, Black Panther story Judas and the Black Messiah, Korean-language drama Minari, Nomadland, #MeToo revenge tale Promising Young Woman, 1960s Vietnam War courtroom drama The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Amazon Studio’s deaf drama Sound of Metal.

The late Chadwick Boseman also got a first Oscar nod for his final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

The nominations were announced from London by presenters Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. The Academy Awards would typically have happened by now but this year will be telecast on April 25. The film academy said Monday that the show will be held at both its usual home, the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, and the city’s railway hub, Union Station.

This year’s awards season — typically a month-long circuit of screenings, cocktail parties and schmoozing — has been entirely virtual, taking much of the buzz and predictability out of the Oscars. Eligibility was extended to early 2021 releases and to movies that bypassed theatres.