British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed won the Emmy award for his spectacular performance in a limited series called The Night Of. By winning the award, Riz became the first Muslim actor, as well as the first South-Asian actor to win the award for his acting.
The Emmy Awards took place on Sunday night in which talent from television was acknowledged for their performances. Riz Ahmed was contesting against Benedict Cumberbatch from Sherlock: The Lying Detective, Robert De Niro from The Wizard of Lies, Ewan McGregor from Fargo, Geoffrey Rush from Genius and John Turturro from The Night Of, for the best actor category.
In his acceptance speech, Ahmed thanked his fellow category nominees and Turturro for their support; “It’s been amazing getting to watch you up close, and I share this with you, brother.”
Backstage, the actor touched on the need for more diverse roles and praised Ed Skrein for how he handled the recent Hellboy casting controversy.
“I think what we’re starting to see is more awareness around how beneficial it can be to tell a diverse range of stories and to tell them in a way that’s authentic,” Ahmed told reporters.
“Something that happened recently that I found really, really moving and I really applaud is the British actor Ed Skrein recently kind of turned down a role — it was lucrative role.”
He added, “I know him personally, he’s a great guy and he just felt that he wanted to respect the cultural authenticity of that particular story and that character in Hellboy. So I think when you see examples of that, what we’re seeing is more awareness around this conversation and I think awareness if the first step to real change.”
In The Night Of Ahmed plays the character of Nasir Khan, who is a Pakistani college student who ends up at Rikers Island after becoming involved in a murder investigation.