At 41 years old, Riz Ahmed has this physical status:
Ahmed's film career began in the 2006 Michael Winterbottom film The Road to Guantánamo, in which he played the part of Shafiq Rasul, a member of the Tipton Three. He and another actor involved in the film were detained at Luton Airport upon their return from the Berlin Film Festival where the film won a Silver Bear Award. Ahmed alleged that during questioning, police asked him whether he had become an actor to further the Islamic cause, questioned him on his views of the Iraq War, verbally abused him, and denied him access to a telephone.
In 2007, he portrayed Sohail Waheed in the Channel 4 drama, Britz. Ahmed then portrayed Riq in the five-part horror thriller Dead Set for E4 and Manesh Kunzru in ITV1's Wired in 2008. Also that year he played a primary school teacher in Staffroom Monologues for the specialist channel Teachers TV. In July 2009, he appeared in Freefall alongside Sarah Harding. He featured in the title role of the 2009 independent film Shifty, directed by Eran Creevy. Ahmed plays a charismatic young drug dealer in the film which sees a life in the day of this character. He was nominated for Best Actor at the 2008 British Independent Film Awards.
Continuing his film career, he featured in the 2009 Sally Potter production of Rage and in 2010, in Chris Morris' satire on terrorism, Four Lions, for which he received his second British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Actor. Ahmed also had a supporting role in Neil Marshall's historical thriller Centurion. In 2012, he starred as one of the leading roles in the London-based film Ill Manors, directed by Plan B. Ahmed received his third British Independent Film Award nomination for Best Actor. He assumed the lead role in Mira Nair's adaptation of the best-selling novel by Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, alongside Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, and Liev Schreiber.
Ahmed is also known for his stage performances such as in the Asian Dub Foundation opera Gaddafi and a starring role as psychotic serial-killer-turned-born-again-Christian Lucius in the Lighthouse Theatre's acclaimed production of Stephen Adly Guirgis's Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train (directed by Jack William Clift and Thomas Sweatman) as well as in Shan Khan's Prayer Room.
Ahmed directed and wrote a 2014 short film, Daytimer. It won the Best Live Action Short award at Nashville Film Festival, and was nominated for the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. In 2014, Ahmed appeared in Dan Gilroy's Nightcrawler. Ahmed received acclaim for his portrayal in the film and gained numerous awards nominations during awards season. Riz Ahmed was one of seventy-five actors to audition for the role of Rick. The British actor was attending a friend's wedding in Los Angeles, when his talent agent suggested he meet Gilroy to discuss the film's script. Gilroy told Ahmed that he had seen his previous work; he was not fit for the role, but still allowed him to audition. Within the first minute of his audition tape, however, Gilroy felt confident in the actor's abilities. To prepare for the role, Ahmed met with homeless people in Skid Row, and researched homeless shelters to "understand the system". He found that most of the people dealt with abandonment issues, and attempted to replicate this in Rick's abusive relationship with Lou.
In 2016, he appeared in Rogue One, the first film in the new Star Wars anthology films as Bodhi Rook, a defected imperial pilot. The film garnered critical acclaim and earned Ahmed a nomination for the Best Male Newcomer at the Empire Awards. The film was a commercial success and became Disney's fourth of 2016 to earn $1 billion in ticket sales. It is the second highest-grossing film of 2016, the third highest-grossing Star Wars film, and the 22nd highest-grossing film of all time, all unadjusted for inflation. In the United States, it was the top-grossing film of 2016. Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $319.6 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film, making it the 3rd most profitable release of 2016.
In 2016, Ahmed played the role of Nasir "Naz" Khan in the HBO miniseries The Night Of, and once again received universal praise for his performance, earning him Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. He also appeared in the final season of Girls, earning him another Emmy nomination. At the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, Ahmed won the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his performance in The Night Of, winning over Robert De Niro, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Geoffrey Rush and co-star John Turturro. This made Ahmed the first Asian and first Muslim to win in the category, the first South Asian male to win an acting Emmy, and the first Muslim and first South Asian to win a lead acting Emmy; the only previous South Asian to win an acting Emmy was British Asian actress Archie Panjabi for a supporting role in 2010.
In 2017, it was rumoured that Ahmed was to play Hamlet in a Netflix adaptation of the Shakespeare play, which Ahmed later confirmed.
In 2018, Ahmed starred in Venom in the dual role of Carlton Drake, the Life Foundation's leader experimenting on symbiotes, and Riot, a symbiote team leader allied with Drake who seeks to invade Earth. Ahmed explained that Drake is trying to save the future of humanity when he discovers the symbiote, with Fleischer adding that Drake has a positive goal but a "moral ambiguity" that leads to him testing his science on other people.
As of 2018, films that Riz Ahmed has been involved in, have collectively grossed $2.4 billion at the worldwide box office.
Following his mixtape under the same name, Ahmed's Englistan, an original TV series was commissioned by BBC Two and Left Handed Films in 2018. The series will tell the story of three generations of a British Pakistani family. Ahmed describes the series as "a period drama – unlike any other period drama you have seen before." More currently, his production company secured a first look deal with Amazon.
Ahmed starred in the American drama film Sound of Metal, which was distributed by Amazon Studios and released in 2020, after having premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019. Ahmed plays a drummer who loses his hearing. The film co-stars Olivia Cooke as his girlfriend, and Paul Raci as the leader of a Deaf retreat. IndieWire film critic Eric Kohn praised Ahmed's performance, writing "Ahmed's so believable that he keeps the suspense of the drama in play even as it pushes into contrived circumstances during the prolonged final act, and eventually takes a melodramatic plunge." For his performance he has received Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA Award, Critics Choice Award, and Independent Spirit Award nominations. He is the first Muslim and Pakistani actor to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.
In 2021, Ahmed also executive produced the animated documentary film Flee which made its international debut at the Sundance Film Festival. The film was universally praised by critics and nominated for Best International Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature and Best Animated Feature at the 94th Academy Awards .
In February 2021, Ahmed was nominated and won in the best debut screenwriter category for the film Mogul Mowgli at the delayed British Independent Film Awards 2020. Starring in the main role as a British-Pakistani rapper, The Guardian film critic Wendy Ide praised his "blistering performance" on screen.
In August 2021, Ahmed was named as head of the Platform Prize jury for the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival. In November 2021, Ahmed was announced as a recipient of the Richard Harris Award, which is given to an actor or actress who has "contributed significantly to British films throughout their career".
The Long Goodbye also was adapted into a short film, directed by Aneil Karia. It won Best Live Action Short Film at the 94th Academy Awards.
Ahmed is set to voice Ballister Boldheart in Nimona, which is scheduled for release in 2023 on Netflix.
Inspired by jungle and hip hop music, his music career began in his mid-teens, appearing on pirate radio and in freestyle rap battles. While at university, Ahmed co-founded the Hit & Run night in Oxford, which has since moved to Manchester and gone on to become one of Manchester's leading underground music events. At Oxford, he was also part of a 12-person jazz-house/electronica band called Confidential Collective. After graduating, he competed in and won many rap battle competitions. He competed as Riz MC on JumpOff TV's "Spin the Mic" freestyle rap battle contest in 2006. He beat contestants Stig and Skilla Mic, before a controversial loss to contest winner Whatshisface; according to JumpOff TV, Riz was at a disadvantage due to racial double standards from the crowd.
In 2006, Ahmed recorded a satirical social-commentary rap track entitled "Post 9/11 Blues", which was leaked by friends and first gained popularity through the internet. The song was initially banned from British airplay because the lyrics were deemed "politically sensitive", including satirical references to 9/11, terrorism, the post-9/11 climate, Iraq War, death of Jean Charles de Menezes, MI6, and Belmarsh prison. The resulting press coverage, however, prompted some independent radio stations to play the track. He soon founded his own independent record label, Battered Records, officially releasing "Post 9/11 Blues" for the CD and MP3 formats in August 2006. He went on to win Best MC at the 2006 Asian Music Awards. He released his second single in 2007, the garage rap song "People Like People". He was selected as a BBC Introducing artist in 2007, playing the Glastonbury Festival and the BBC Electric Proms. He opened the Meltdown Festival with Bristol-based trip-hop group Massive Attack at the Royal Festival Hall in 2008, and was appointed 'Emerging Artist in Residence' at the Southbank Centre in London. He played at the London Camp for Climate Action in August 2009.
In 2011, he released his debut album, Microscope, which was re-released with additional remixes in 2012. On 1 December 2011, it was announced that Riz MC had signed to Tru Thoughts, an independent label in Brighton. From Microscope, he released "Sour Times" which was accompanied by a video featuring Scroobius Pip, Plan B, Tom Hardy, and Jim Sturgess. Formed in 2014, Ahmed is half of the hip hop duo Swet Shop Boys along with Heems. Their debut release, Swet Shop EP, was released in 2014. The group's debut full-length effort, Cashmere, was released on 14 October 2016, and received critical acclaim. In 2016, he also released a mixtape, Englistan. He was featured on the song "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)" in The Hamilton Mixtape, which topped the Billboard 200 chart. This put him in the unique position of sitting at number-one on both the Billboard 200 album chart and the movie box office chart (with Rogue One) at the same time. At the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs), "Immigrants" won the award for Best Fight Against the System, giving him the rare distinction of winning both the Emmy and VMA awards.
Usman Khawaja insists there are 'innocents on both sides' of Israel-Palestine conflict as Australian star calls for 'compassion' amid ongoing conflict
Cate Blanchett, 54, cuts a stylish figure in double denim as she steps out during Milan Fashion Week
TV shows are the stories we bring into our homes. They shape how we understand the world, each other, and our place in it. The latest study from inclusionists reminds us that when it comes to Muslim portrayals, we’re still being fed a TV diet of stereotyping and erasure. For Muslims this sends a message that they don’t belong or don’t matter. For other people, we risk normalising fear, bigotry and stigmatisation against Muslims. Networks and streaming services need to embrace their responsibility to ensure Muslims of all backgrounds see themselves reflected in our favourite TV shows and seize this gigantic opportunity to connect with an underserved global audience - not just as part of a passing diversity fad but as a decisive shift towards inclusive story-telling. Check out TheMuslimBlueprint.org to learn more. Big thanks to inclusionists for the data, monachalabi for the illustrations, and pillarsfund and fordfoundation for their support. Proud to launch this with my team at Left Handed Films. #TheMuslimBlueprint
Thank you malala for this appeal. Floods are devastating Pakistan, destroying people’s homes, washing away their crops, displacing families and severing their connectivity with ancestral lands. Entire villages, schools, and roads have been swept away, and with them lives, livelihoods, generations of memories, and plans for the future. A third of the country is under flood water - an area the size of the UK. Around 30 million people are affected. Families need food, clean drinking water, shelter and medical assistance. They need solidarity from all parts of the globe - not just those of us in the diaspora but all of us who know this to be a wake-up call to the world on the threats of climate change. If you can, please consider donating to disastersemergencycommittee mamababyfund shirkat.gah handspakistan herpakistan edhi.foundation and the many organisations working hard on the ground right now. Any donation, no matter how small, can help rebuild lives. See links in bio for more info.