Last night was a historic night for the Academy Awards. (And no, we’re not talking about the spectacle Will Smith put on on.)Winners represented a slew of minority groups, including the LGBTQ+ and deaf communities. The night also saw only the third woman ever win Best Director. It was in a less high profile category, however, that Star Wars Alumni Riz Ahmed made a major breakthrough for Hollywood figures of Muslim faith and of Asian descent. Ahmed became the first Muslim to win an Oscar for Best Short Film (Live-Action) for The Long Goodbye.

Riz Ahmed; Rogue One
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

One of the British-Pakistani actor’s more visible roles was that of the defecting Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. That film for many is easily the best Star Wars film of the Disney era. Rogue One is also arguably one of the best in the entire franchise. It’s the more dramatic efforts Riz Ahmed has undertaken in recent years, however, that has established him as a premier Hollywood actor and writer.

Riz Ahmed wins historic Oscar at 2022 Academy Awards

Riz Ahmed; Star Wars; The Long Goodbye
Riz Ahmed and Aneil Karia win an Oscar for Best Short Film (Live-Action) at the 2022 Academy Awards. (Image: Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Last year Ahmed earned a nomination for Best Actor for his role in The Sound of Metal. There he portrayed a heavy metal drummer who struggles with losing his hearing and way of life. The film was also up for Best Picture, but both ultimately lost out. This year saw a different result. The Long Goodbye, which Riz Ahmed co-wrote with Aneil Karia, took top honors for Best Short Film (Live-Action). Ahmed stars in the film as the patriarch of a South-Asian family who falls victim to attack from white, nationalist, domestic terrorists in suburban London. You can watch the entire short film below.

Sadly, Riz Ahmed is all too familiar with the deleterious effects of racism and nationalism across the globe. He himself has been victim to it, having been detained by U.S. Homeland Security or at other airports for seemingly no other reason than his faith and/or appearance. One such incident prohibited him from joining his cast mates and fans at Star Wars Celebration several years ago.

The Long Goodbye serves as a poignant reminder that society have a long way to go in combating such vile, racist behavior. Hopefully this well-deserved Oscar will help to spur action.

You can find more information on the 2022 Oscars and a full list of winners HERE.