The Untold Truth Of Riz Ahmed

Have you seen the 2014 thriller "Nightcrawler" starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo? Did you watch and then re-watch 2016's "Rogue One" from the Star Wars universe? Were you captivated by 2019's "Sound of Metal," which ended up being an award-winner? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, then there's a good chance that you're a fan of Riz Ahmed who was in all three of those films, according to IMDb.

However, even if you're not into movies and would rather pop on some music, there's still a good chance that you're a fan of Ahmed. But you might know him as Riz MC. According to The Wild City, he happens to be a rapper in Swet Shop Boys. Just check out albums like "Microscope" and "Cashmere" to understand why hip-hop fans are into his music. In fact, his songs are so popular that his "Hamilton Mixtape" topped the Billboard 200 and he took home an MTV Video Music Award for "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)."

Granted, there's much more to know about this star than just the movies he's been in and the music he's released. For instance, check out the following untold truths and oh-so intriguing facts about Ahmed.

Riz Ahmed graduated from Oxford with an unexpected degree

Riz Ahmed may be a success in show business, however, if his efforts in the industry hadn't worked out, then he could have pursued a few different career options thanks to his degree. Just like fellow stars Ian McKellen, Thandie Newton, Emma Thompson, Emma Watson, Rachel Weisz, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Rowan Atkinson (yes, Mr. Bean), Ahmed is an Oxford University graduate, per BuzzFeed. Instead of focusing on performing while at the elite school, he studied (and got a degree in) philosophy, politics, and economics, according to IMDb.

After walking away with a fancy degree from Oxford, Ahmed ended up studying at London's Central School of Speech and Drama. Other famous alumni of the school include Kit Harington, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jason Isaacs, and Andrew Garfield — not to mention Dame Judi Dench and Vanessa Redgrave, as well her daughter Natasha Richardson, and Carrie Fisher.

Founded back in 1906, the school teaches its students everything from "acting, actor training, applied theatre, [and] theatre crafts," as well as "drama therapy, movement, musical theatre, performance, producing, puppetry, research, scenography, stage management, teacher training, technical arts, voice, and writing." Yeah, those who are truly dedicated can definitely learn a lot while at the school.

While that's pretty impressive, it turns out that Ahmed isn't the only person in his family who's both smart and creative. In fact, you may be a fan of his wife's work and not even know it.

The star got married without the public knowing

Some stars are willing to put their wedding on full display for the public while others prefer to keep their nuptials as private as possible or are simply not into oversharing when it comes to certain aspects of their lives. Riz Ahmed is obviously in the latter group which is why his marriage was basically a secret until after he had tied the knot.

In January 2021, Ahmed was opening up during a chat with BBC Radio 4's Grounded with Louis Theroux podcast when he revealed that he was married! That was followed by the announcement that he had wed novelist Fatima Farheen Mirza. The star also explained during an interview for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" that while he wasn't actively trying to keep the ceremony a secret, he just wasn't posting about it or talking about it a lot before he actually got married.

However, now Ahmed certainly seems willing to open up about his wife. "She's an amazing novelist. And we met so randomly while actually I was preparing for this role, for 'Sound Of Metal' when I was in New York," he told Fallon. "We just both sat down at the same table in the cafe where we both turned up to write. We were both jostling over the same laptop plug points, like a very modern way of meeting." He added that they "struck up a friendship" and "reconnected down the line," which obviously led to a happily-ever-after for these two.

The Riz Test was inspired by this actor

How you ever heard of the Bechdel Test? Merriam-Webster explains that the evaluation includes "a set of criteria used as a test to evaluate a work of fiction (such as a film) on the basis of its inclusion and representation of female characters." Now that we have that covered, have you ever heard of the Riz Test? It's similar, but of course, different.

Created by Shaf Choudry and Dr. Sadia Habib, the test "evaluate[s] Muslim representation in films and TV," according to The Express Tribune. "Taking inspiration from Riz Ahmed's speech on representation and the Bechdel and Duvernay tests, the Riz Test hopes to start a conversation about the need for a concerted effort to have fair representation of Muslims in film and television," the pair explained.

This test involves five questions, including, is there "at least one character who is identifiable Muslim" and "is the character talking about the victim or executioner of terrorism? Or often irrationally angry?" The test also asks viewers to note if the male Muslim characters are misogynistic and if the women are "portrayed as ... oppressed" characters. If you notice any of the problematic portrayals, then the film or show fails the test.

So, what does Ahmed, who is Muslim, think of the Riz Test? According to Vice, he "gave it a thumbs up." And that kind of willingness to challenge the norm is also why the actor made history when it comes to one of the industry's biggest awards.

Riz Ahmed made Oscar history

Riz Ahmed may have a long and successful career ahead of him in show business, but the fact is that he's already made his mark on Hollywood. Not only has the actor nabbed a fair share of impressive roles and established himself as a star, but he's also made Oscar history.

Although the Academy Awards have faced serious criticism in the past due to a lack of diversity when it comes to members, nominees, and winners, in 2021, Steven Yeun became the first Asian American ever nominated for best actor for his work in "Minari," while the same film's Yuh-Jung Youn who was given a nod in the Best Supporting Actress category is the first Korean performer to be nominated for an acting Oscar.

On top of that, "Riz Ahmed became the first person of Pakistani descent ever nominated for any acting Oscar," according to Variety, which he earned for his performance in "Sound of Metal" (he also scored a Golden Globe nomination for his work, per IMDb). The outlet also noted that thanks to the inclusion of the late Chadwick Boseman, "this is also the first time in Oscar history that the best actor category is not majority white."

Beyond that, The Hollywood Reporter notes that Mahershala Ali "remains the only Muslim actor to win an Oscar" as of this writing, which would make Ahmed's potential win even more significant. A win would also seriously boost the star's influence and earning power.

Riz Ahmed doesn't have as much money as you might think

Riz Ahmed may be a notable figure in the entertainment industry, and there's no doubt that his star will continue to rise in the years to come. The same can likely be said for his fortune. As of writing, he has $3 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, which is a decent amount but, honestly, may not be as much as you might have assumed.

However, Ahmed may have actually explained why he doesn't have as much money as he might have and it all has to do with what he's chosen to pursue when it comes to one side of his career. In October 2020, he tweeted, "Bro [I] don't make any money from rap / I've written this fiction to make us a map / This 'a place for us' when they send us to camps / They tell us we're niche we're the niche for His lamp." That happens to be a section from his song "Once Kings." However, it also seems to be a simple fact.

Granted, if Ahmed keeps sharing his skills with the world, then his rapping will surely pay off as much as his acting.