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The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, are airing live on CBS from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles

By Aurelie Corinthios
September 17, 2017 10:51 PM
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Congratulations are in order for Riz Ahmed!

The star took home the 2017 Emmy Award for outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie for his starring role in HBO’s The Night Of.

Jessica Biel and Joseph Fiennes took the stage on Sunday to present the award, Ahmed’s first Emmy.

“This is a tremendous honor just to be recognized along so many actors who I’ve been inspired by for so long,” Ahmed, 34, said in his acceptance speech, also thanking the miniseries’ co-creators Richard Price and Steven Zaillian.”

He singled out another collaborator as well: James Gandolfini, a posthumous executive producer on the series following his death in 2013. Gandolfini had been slated to star alongside Ahmed; John Turturro took over the role.

Riz Ahmed
Riz Ahmed
| Credit: Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP

In his speech, Ahmed described the Sopranos star as someone who “single-handedly changed television.”

Ahmed also took note of The Night Of‘s themes of racial discrimination, noting that “it’s always strange reaping the rewards of a story based on real-world suffering.”

But, he said, if the miniseries shines a light on such injustice, “then maybe that’s something.”

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Along with Ahmed, the nominees were Ewan McGregor (Fargo), Geoffrey Rush (Genius), Robert De Niro (The Wizard of Lies), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: The Lying Detective [Masterpiece]) and Turturro,(The Night Of).

The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, are airing live on CBS from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.