Riz Ahmed is the first Muslim actor to be nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. Ahmed secured the nod for his portrayal of a heavy metal drummer who begins to lose his hearing.

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For any musician or music lover, losing your hearing is their biggest nightmare. To prepare for the role of Ruben Stone, drummer for the metal duo Blackgammon, Ahmed studied with an ASL (American Sign Language) coach for nearly a year so he could bring the utmost authenticity to the film.

“During a series of adrenaline-fueled one-night gigs, itinerant punk-metal drummer Ruben (Riz Ahmed) begins to experience intermittent hearing loss,” an official Rotten Tomatoes synopsis for The Sound of Metal reads. “When a specialist tells him his condition will rapidly worsen, he thinks his music career — and with it his life — is over. His bandmate and girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke) checks the recovering heroin addict into a secluded sober house for the deaf in hopes it will prevent a relapse and help him learn to adapt to his new situation. But after being welcomed into a community that accepts him just as he is, Ruben has to choose between his equilibrium and the drive to reclaim the life he once knew. Utilizing startling, innovative sound design techniques, director Darius Marder takes audiences inside Ruben’s experience to vividly recreate his journey into a rarely examined world.”

The Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Venom actor chose to step away from blockbuster films to pursue the lead role in The Sound of Metal, which garnered Ahmed immense critical praise and a number of film critic awards for Best Actor.

"There was an opportunity to do bigger, more commercial projects and make money and buy a home and all these things," Ahmed previously told The Hollywood Reporter. "But I thought, 'Here's your chance.' My gut feeling about it was so strong. And for whatever reason, I felt really hungry for something like that, to go all in and just fucking go there."

Ahmed is nominated alongside former Walking Dead star Steven Yeun, who became the first Asian American performer to receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Anthony Hopkins, Chadwick Boseman and Gary Oldman have also been nominated. Check out a trailer for The Sound of Metal below.

Sound of Metal – Official Trailer | Prime Video

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