British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed has won his first Academy Award for the short film, ‘The Long Goodbye,’ which Ahmed co-wrote and starred in.
In a heartfelt acceptance speech, Riz 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.”
Directed by Riz Ahmed and Aneil Karia, ‘The Long Goodbye’, which is streaming on YouTube, is a 12-minute film about a British-Pakistani family who is attacked by an all-white militia as they prepare for wedding celebrations. The film incorporates music written by Ahmed, as well.
Riz Ahmed, who is 39-years-old, was born in Wembly, outside London, to Pakistani parents. He previously made Oscar history as the first Muslim man nominated for an Academy Award for lead actor for his role in ‘The Sound of Metal’, a film about a drummer going deaf.
This year, Riz Ahmed was one of ten Oscar nominees of South Asian descent. Also nominated were director Aneil Karia for “The Long Goodbye” (who won alongside Riz Ahmed); producer Suroosh Alvi for “Flee” (also co-produced by Riz Ahmed); directors Elizabeth and Gulistan Mirzae for “Three Songs for Benazir”; producer Joseph Patel for “Summer of Soul” (which won an Academy Award for best documentary); and directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, along with co-executive producer Anurima Bhargava, for “Writing With Fire.”