Riz Ahmed, one of the top contenders in the best actor race, is being honored by the Miami Film Festival with its inaugural Impact Award.

Sound of Metal,” co-written and directed by Darius Marder, tells the story of a heavy metal drummer (Ahmed) who begins to lose his hearing. The film also stars Olivia Wilde, Paul Raci, Mathieu Amalric and Lauren Ridloff.

“We selected Riz for this distinguished honor for his incisive, brilliant performance in ‘Sound of Metal’ and what it has meant for the Recovery community within the Deaf community, which is often invisible in our society,” says Miami Film Festival Executive Director Jaie Laplante.

Ahmed’s performance as Ruben has received critical acclaim and currently has won the most accolades of any best actor contender this awards season, including the National Board of Review and the Gothams. His co-star Raci also leads for supporting actor wins. Ahmed also won an Emmy Award in 2017 for his work in HBO’s limited series “The Night Of.” His other feature credits include “Nightcrawler,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Mogul Mowgli,” which he also co-wrote.

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Courtesy of Amazon Studios
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

If nominated for best actor, Riz Ahmed will become the first Muslim actor to be nominated in any leading category at the Academy Awards. To date, only Shohreh Aghdashloo (“House of Sand and Fog”), Omar Sharif (“Lawrence of Arabia”) and two-time winner Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight” and “Green Book”) have ever been recognized in the supporting categories.

Ahmed joins this year’s previously announced honoree actor Javier Cámara, who will receive the festival’s Precious Gem Award.

The award tribute and Variety-moderated conversation will take place on March 6. The 38th annual festival will be held as a hybrid event from March 5-14. The festival will announce its complete lineup and additional honorees on Feb. 3.

“Sound of Metal” is produced by Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Bill Benz and Kathy Benz. It’s distributed by Amazon Studios and is currently available for streaming on Prime Video.