“This is for everyone who feels like they don’t belong."
British actor Riz Ahmed has won his first Oscar for the short film The Long Goodbye, which he co-wrote and starred in.
The Long Goodbye was directed by Aneil Karia and is an 11-minute feature.
Riz Ahmed wins ‘Best Live Action Short Film’.
It incorporates music from Ahmed’s album of the same name, which was released in 2021 and reflects on his identity as a British Pakistani artist.
The film tells the story of a South Asian family in London who are preparing for a wedding celebration at their home.
However, they are interrupted by news reports of a right-wing militia, who soon knock on their door.
What follows is the family being terrorised by the militia.
Speaking during the customary backstage question-and-answer session, Riz Ahmed said that he hoped the decision not to broadcast certain awards during the 2022 ceremony does not “become the story”.
The decision not to broadcast ‘Best Live Action Short Film’, along with ‘Best Production Design’, ‘Best Editing’ and ‘Best Sound’, prompted outrage among many Oscars viewers and members of the film industry.
Ahmed said that while he understood and agreed with those who were upset, he hoped that the controversy wouldn’t overshadow the chance to celebrate the winners for their achievement.
Ahmed’s win was announced before the Oscars 2022 ceremony was broadcast, with ‘Live Action Short Film’, being one of several categories to be dropped from the live televised portion of the event.
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 win marks the first time someone of Asian descent has triumphed in the live-action short category.
Riz Ahmed was nominated for an Oscar in 2021 for his role as a hearing-impaired drummer in Sound of Metal, losing out to Anthony Hopkins.
Ahmed’s nomination in 2021 alongside Steven Yuen in the same category, was the first time two Asian men had been both nominated for best actor.
Riz Ahmed was one of the most high-profile British winners at the 94th Academy Awards, along with Sir Kenneth Branagh.
Sir Kenneth won ‘Best Original Screenplay’ for Belfast and it marks his first Oscars win, despite having previously been nominated on eight occasions.