Academy Awards or Oscars made diverse nominations for the year 2021 amid coronavirus pandemic with a Pakistani origin actor getting a nod for lead actor. Riz Ahmed became the first Pakistani and Muslim nominated in the Best Actor category for his role in “Sound of Metal.”

The 38-year-old British-Pakistani actor Riz’s nomination alongside Steven Yeun for “Minari” makes it the first time two actors of Asian descent have been nominated for lead actor in the same year.

Before Riz, actor Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar, but in the category of supporting actor, when he took the award for “Moonlight” in 2017. He repeated his feast in 2019 for “Green Book.”

The nomination also makes Riz the first performer of Pakistani descent to land in any acting race. He already had become the first Muslim, and first Asian, to grab an Emmy in lead role in 2017 for a limited series for “The Night of.”

‘MANK’ LEADS WITH 10 NOMINATIONS: The 93rd Oscars are historic because its for the first time that two female filmmakers are in contention. But it is David Fincher’s “Mank”, a black-and-white, period drama, topping with 10 nominations, including best picture, best director, acting nods for Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, and a host of others.

Six movies get six nominations each, all of which are also up for best picture: “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Nomadland,” “Minari,” “Sound of Metal,” “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “The Father.” Also nominated for best picture was Emerald Fennell’s “Promising Young Woman.”

History was made in the best director category. Only five women have ever been nominated in the history of the awards. For the first time, two were this year. Chloé Zhoe got a nod for her elegiac road-trip drama “Nomadland” alongside first-time feature filmmaker Fennell for her pitch black #MeToo revenge comedy. “Never going to stop crying,” Fennell, also nominated for best screenplay, said on Twitter.

Zhao, the first Asian woman nominated for best director, is the most nominated woman in a single year in Oscar history. She was also tipped for the film’s adapted screenplay, editing and as a producer in the best picture category.

The other directing nominees were Lee Isaac Chung for the tender family drama “Minari,” Fincher for “Mank” and Thomas Vinterberg for his heavy-drinking Danish tragicomedy “Another Round.”

For actors, it’s the most diverse group of nominees ever — leaving behind memory of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag five years ago. Nine of the 20 nominees are people of colour, including a posthumous best-actor nomination for Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), as well as nods for Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Steven Yeun (“Minari”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) and Andra Day (“The People vs. Billie Holiday”) and supporting nominations for Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”), Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) and Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”).

Davis, who won for her performance in “Fences” in 2016, landed her fourth Oscar nomination, making her the most nominated Black actress ever. Yeun is the first Asian American ever nominated for best actor. “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Shaka King’s powerful Black Panther drama, is the first best-picture nominee with an all-Black producing team: King along with Ryan Coogler and Charles D. King. Overall, a record 70 women were nominated for 76 Oscars, the academy said.

The other nominees for best actress are: Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”); Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”); Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”). The remaining nominee for best actor is Anthony Hopkins for the dementia drama “The Father.”

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


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