British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed paid tribute to his “inspiration” Irrfan Khan in his acceptance speech for being named best actor at the Gotham Awards 2021.
The 30th Annual Gotham Awards was a “virtual hybrid” event held on Monday night in New York.
38-year-old Ahmed won the award for director Darius Marder’s acclaimed drama Sound of Metal, in which he appears as a drummer who is slowly losing his hearing.
During his virtual acceptance speech, the actor said 2020 would be the year of the “great loss” and quoted Khan’s words that he “always thinks”.
“I would like to mention Irrfan Khan, another great actor we lost last year. Anyone hearing the words in my ears that I keep thinking about: “Surrender to the dance of uncertainty,” said Ahmed, who is considered the top male actor in this award season.
Khan, who spanned both Indian and international cinema with equal vigor, died in April 2020 after a two-year battle with a rare form of cancer.
Ahmed, who won an Emmy Award for the HBO Limited series The Night Of, had previously named Khan along with the late American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman as his life inspirations.
In his speech, Ahmed also mentioned Boseman, who was nominated for the black bottom of his swan song Ma Rainey.
He said the Black Panther star led a life of example and dignity.
Boseman, 43, died in August 2020 after a four-year private battle with colon cancer.
“It’s been a crazy year for all of us. There was a lot of loss, a lot of time to reflect. The only thing we learned was that we couldn’t get anywhere on our own. Our well-being is interdependent. I feel just like an actor. Creativity is not a solo sport.
“With that in mind, I’d like to thank all of the other nominees for their work and inspiration, especially Chadwick Boseman. I found his work really inspiring, the way he behaved with such dignity and humanity as a role model for all of us, ”he added.
During the awards ceremony, Boseman was posthumously awarded the Gotham Awards Film Tribute.
The actor’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, gave an emotional speech the first time she spoke about his death.
“He was the most honest person I have ever met because he not only stopped telling the truth: he actively searched for it in himself and his fellow human beings and in the moment.
“The truth can be very easy for the self to avoid, but unless one lives in the truth it is impossible to live in harmony with the divine purpose for your life. And so it became how he lived his life day after day. Imperfect and determined, ”said Ledward.
She said Boseman was a gifted actor because he had “lived many lives in his focused”.
“He developed his understanding of what it means to be the nothing, the one and the all. A container that you can pour in and out of, ”he said. He used the strength to let go and let God’s love shine through… (He) not only told a story or read lines on a page, but modeled a path to true fulfillment, ”added Ledward.
Filmmaker Chloe Zhao’s drama Nomadland, a critical favorite, received two awards for best feature film and categories for audience awards at the ceremony.
Nicole Beharie, 36, was named Best Actress for her work in Channing Godfrey Peoples’ drama Miss Juneteenth.
HBO’s superhero show Watchmen and drama I May Destroy You have received Breakthrough Series – Long Format and Short Format Awards, respectively.
The Spanish drama Identifying Features, directed by Fernanda Valadez, won the best international award.