British Pakistani actor, musician, and activist Riz Ahmed took home the Academy Award for the Best Short Film for ‘The Long Goodbye,’ along with British Indian director Aneil Karia. Ahmed co-wrote, produced, and stars in the short film where he plays Riz, whose British-Pakistani family encounters far-right marchers with terrible consequences.
In his acceptance speech Ahmed said: “In such divided times, we believe that the role of story is to remind us there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. There’s just ‘us’.”
He dedicated the award to “everyone who feels like they’re stuck in No Man’s Land,” assuring them that they aren’t alone. “We’ll meet you there.”
The 12-minute film shares its name with the 2020 album by Ahmed, which was inspired, in part, by the rise of far-right political groups and anti-immigration rhetoric in the post-Brexit UK. The film incorporates music from Ahmed’s album. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film, “which culminates in a searing monologue from Ahmed, is a terrifying look at an everyday nightmare for members of certain marginalized communities.”
Ahmed has called ‘The Long Goodbye’ one of “the most intense and important stories” he’s been a part of. He gave a shout-out to Karia’s ‘bold vision’ and the ‘tirelessly dedicated cast and crew’.