Riz Ahmed (‘Sound of Metal’) jumps into top 5 in our Best Actor Oscar predictions, so can he go all the way?

Sound of Metal” star Riz Ahmed has jumped in our Oscar predictions for Best Actor in recent weeks. Based on the combined predictions of Gold Derby users on December 1, he ranked seventh with 25/1 odds. But then the film began streaming on Amazon Prime Video on December 4, which vaulted him into our top five. As of this writing on December 18, he’s in fifth place with 17/2 odds. Can he continue to rise?

Ahmed stars in the film as Ruben, a heavy-metal drummer who finds himself at a personal and career crossroads when he suddenly loses his hearing. It would be the first Oscar nomination for Ahmed, but not his first awards recognition. He’s a seven-time British Independent Film Award nominee for films including “Shifty” (2008) “Four Lions” (2010) and another 2020 film, “Mogul Mowgli.” He also earned an Independent Spirit nom for his supporting role in “Nightcrawler” (2014).

And he made history at the 2017 Emmys by winning Best Movie/Limited Actor for “The Night Of”: he was the first person of South Asian descent to win a lead-acting award from the television academy. So he could follow in the footsteps of Rami Malek, who won a breakthrough Emmy for “Mr. Robot” in 2016 and took home the Best Actor Oscar for “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018) just a few years later.

Ahmed’s rise in our odds has been fueled in large part by the Expert journalist‘s we’ve surveyed. A whopping 17 of them are predicting him to be nominated with Gold Derby’s own Tom O’Neil predicting him to win. Compare that to December 1, when only eight Experts were betting on him to make the cut.

The release of “Sound of Metal” surely contributed to Ahmed’s rise in our predictions; naturally, enthusiasm for his performance increased as general audiences started seeing it. But watch out, because a number of other Best Actor contenders could enjoy the same bump as their films are released or become more widely available in the coming weeks, including Steven Yeun (“Minari”), Kingsley Ben-Adir (“One Night in Miami”) and Tom Hanks (“News of the World”).

And there’s a long way to go between now and the Oscars, which extended their eligibility deadline to February 28 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So this race may continue to be in flux. But so far so good for Ahmed’s acclaimed performance.

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