2016 has turned out to be a banner year for actor Riz Ahmed. The British actor and writer received critical raves for his role as a Muslim-American college student accused of murder in HBO’s critically acclaimed limited series “The Night Of” (watch our recent interview with him about it here). Ahmed could be a contender for this performance at the Golden Globes, where he currently ranks second for Best TV Movie/Limited Actor with 3/1 odds, just behind recent Emmy champ Courtney B. Vance (“The People v. O.J. Simpson”). But his chances of winning could be augmented by his role in another high-profile project: “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
Ahmed caught the public’s attention with his breakthrough performance in 2014’s film “Nightcrawler.” Playing a young intern to Jake Gyllenhaal’s venal photojournalist, Ahmed earned glowing reviews and nominations for Best Supporting Actor from the Independent Spirit Awards and several critics groups. This year he not only starred in “The Night Of,” but also appeared in the international box-office hit “Jason Bourne.”
But it is his role in “Rogue One,” the long-awaited “Star Wars” prequel that opens December 16, that could boost Ahmed’s chances at the Golden Globes. Ahmed plays Bodhi Rook, a character described as a former Imperial pilot working with the Rebel Alliance. Having a role in such a high-profile project can only help Ahmed’s chances at the Globes. Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press will see the young actor in a blockbuster film and may wish to anoint him now while his star is on the rise.
One need only look at last year’s Golden Globes to see this possibility play out. Oscar Isaac triumphed in the same category last year for another HBO limited series, “Show Me a Hero,” and was surely helped by his prominent role as fighter pilot Poe Dameron in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which like “Rogue One” opened in the middle of December.
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