Riz Ahmed was named Best Actor at the virtual Gotham Awards earlier this week for his performance in Sound of Metal, which Sarah called the “most unique film experience of 2020” in her review. Sound of Metal is currently streaming on Prime Video.
Although the favourite in the Best Actor Oscar category is still Chadwick Boseman, for his electrifying performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Riz’s win at the Gothams is a major momentum-builder and with eight weeks to go until Oscar nomination day, March 15, he’s in solid position for a nomination. Co-star Paul Raci is also in the mix in the Supporting Actor category. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll appreciate why – he’s incredible too.
Of course if not for COVID, Riz would be out there front and centre on the campaign circuit. A lot of the campaign work right now is on Zoom for television interviews, and on podcasts. It was on this week’s episode of the Grounded podcast that Riz revealed that he’s married. While telling host Louis Theroux (via Page Six) that he’s been in California during the pandemic in North America because he wrapped on a film there when lockdown first started and that his “wife’s family” is from the Bay Area. That was a surprise to Louis too who followed up and asked how long he’d been married.
“Not very long, actually,” Ahmed responded. “It’s the first time I’ve ever mentioned it in an interview. So, congratulations on this incredibly exciting scoop.”
His wife’s identity is currently unknown but to go back to award season, in a typical year, the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards would have happened already and if things in Hollywood operated this year the way they usually do, we perhaps would have already seen Riz on the red carpets with his wife. Looking ahead, with the Golden Globes scheduled to happen at the end of February and the SAGs, Critics’ Choice, BAFTAs, Spirit Awards, and ultimately the Oscars to follow in the weeks after, if there’s no improvement in the COVID crisis in Los Angeles, award shows will continue to be virtual, which means that, well, nobody will be going anywhere or bringing anyone anywhere. You don’t need a plus one to turn on your laptop.
The x-factor here though is vaccination. Disneyland is being turned into a mass vaccination site. If the vaccination process is swift, with seniors and frontline workers prioritised, and then opened up to the rest of the population, perhaps an in-person award season is possible. And it’ll be interesting to see the impact of that on the Hollywood community considering that there have long been rumours that certain celebrities are secret anti-vaxxers. But most celebrities are also famewhores. What happens when a celebrity’s anti-vaxx stance gets in the way of their thirst? If they can’t walk a red carpet at an award show without getting vaccinated…will they get vaccinated?
UPDATE: This post was written a few hours ago and I hadn’t seen that Riz revealed that his wife is novelist Fatima Farheen Mirza on The Tonight Show and talked about how they met – at a café, both plugged into their laptops, writing. Swoon!
Yours in gossip,