Well-known British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed paid tributes to late actor Irrfan Khan in his acceptance speech for the best actor honour at the Gotham Awards 2021.
Handed out during a hybrid live-virtual ceremony held in New York City on Monday night, the 30th annual Gotham Awards picked Ahmed for the best actor trophy for his powerful performance in Darius Marder’s Sound of Metal (2019) over presumed frontrunner Chadwick Boseman for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020). The American drama features the 38-year-old actor in the role of a drummer who begins to lose his hearing.
During his virtual acceptance speech, the actor said 2020 was the year of a “lot of loss” and quoted Irrfan Khan’s words, which he always thinks of. “I want to mention Irrfan Khan, another great, tremendous actor who we lost last year. Whose words ring in my ears right now, which I always think of: ‘Surrender to the dance of uncertainty,” said the Wembley-born star actor.
Khan, who did not only establish himself as a top-notch performer in Bollywood but also created a name for himself in international cinema, died of colon infection in April 2020. He was 53.
Ahmed, who won an Emmy Award for HBO limited series The Night Of (2016), had previously named Khan, along with late American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, as his inspirations in life. In his speech, Ahmed also mentioned Boseman, who was nominated for his swansong Black Bottom. Boseman, 43, died August, 2020, following a four year-long private battle with colon cancer.
“It has been a crazy year for all of us. There has been a lot of loss, lot of time to reflect. The one thing we learnt was that we don’t get anywhere on our own. Our well-being is dependent on each other. I feel the same way as an actor. Creativity isn’t a solo sport. In that spirit I want to thank all the other nominees for their work and inspiration, in particular Chadwick Boseman. I found his work to be truly inspiring, the way he conducted himself, with such dignity and humanity, to be an example for all of us,” he added.
Meanwhile, right after lifting the best actor trophy for Sound of Metal, Riz Ahmed appeared on broadcaster Louis Theroux’s podcast Grounded and confessed that he is married now. He, however, did not reveal the name of his wife but said it was “not very long” ago when he walked down the aisle.
Tags: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal, Gotham Awards 2021