The 2021 Hollywood awards season kicks off with the 78th Golden Globes awards ceremony hosted by Hollywood Foreign Press Association. With the broadcast set to include over 100 live feeds from countries around the world, the awards aim to go truly global this year.
Another highlight happens to be the unique award nominations which include, in a first for an actor of Pakistani origin, a best actor (motion picture) nod for Riz Ahmed for his performance in Sound of Metal. The nomination highlights the growing number of high-profile Hollywood actors of Pakistani origin – a number that is only likely to increase in the coming years. Their repertoire of movies ranges from art-house award season flicks to summer superhero tent-polers, and here we list the major names that have shone brightly on the Hollywood radar.
Initially noticed in independent British films such as Four Lions and The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Riz Ahmed has seen his career graph rise substantially following a major role in 2014’s neo-noir drama Nightcrawler, where he shared the screen space with Jake Gyllenhaal. Subsequently, Ahmed has made it to the big league courtesy of his negative turn in Venom and lead performance in HBO miniseries The Night Of. At the Golden Globes this year, Ahmed will be up against the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman, Chadwick Boseman, and Tahar Rahim – a set of actors that would make any Hollywood leading man green with envy.
Born and raised in Karachi right till his late teens, Nanjiaini rose to prominence playing the character of a software engineer in the HBO television series Silicon Valley. Nanjiani essayed that part in the entire six seasons of the show between 2014 and 2019, which gave him enough traction for his starring role in the 2017 romantic drama The Big Sick – a film that was in part based on his own life and which he co-wrote, too. The Big Sick went on to be a commercial and critical success, and now Nanjiani is set to showcase his ripped physique in Marvel’s mega-superhero flick Eternals. That picture is currently going through post-production work and should be ready for release sometime this year.
Currently in her late teens, Iman is set to play the lead character of Pakistani-American superhero Kamala Khan in the upcoming web-series for Disney+ Ms Marvel, Iman Vellani has struck gold in her debut role. She has also been green-lit to act in the Captain Marvel sequel Captain Marvel 2 which is currently in pre-production.
Faran is a graduate of UCal Berkeley and son of renowned Lahore-based actor Naeem Tahir. He has appeared in prominent roles in films such as Star Trek, Charlie Wilson’s War, and Iron Man. Besides his work on the silver screen, Tahir has made prolific appearances in television series ranging from crime-thrillers 24 and NCIS: Los Angeles to medical drama Grey’s Anatomy.
Latif has seen his career rise steadily courtesy roles in prominent British television series Spooks and Penny Dreadful as well as his turn as the Chief of Security in the CBS All Access show Star Trek: Discovery. He will be seen next opposite Sajal Aly in Jemima Khan’s production What’s Love Got To Do With It?