'The Night Of' Star Riz Ahmed Triumphs Over Big-Name Rivals at 2017 Emmys

The Night Of star Riz Ahmed was a surprise winner at the Emmys last night (September 17), in a category we predicted would be one of the night's most hotly contested.

His performance as Nasir "Naz" Khan in The Night Of beat fan favorites Benedict Cumberbatch and Ewan McGregor, not to mention his The Night Of co-star John Turturro, Genius star Geoffrey Rush, and even acting legend Robert De Niro to the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series.

The accolade makes Riz — who is of British and Pakistani descent — the first male South Asian star to win an Emmy, following Archie Punjabi's success in the Outstanding Supporting Actress category last year for her role in The Good Wife.

Riz paid tribute to James Gandolfini in his speech, as well as thanking South Asian Youth Action and The Innocence Project for helping him prepare for the role.

.@rizmc: "If this show has shown a light on the prejudices in our societies ... then maybe that's something" https://t.co/fQHkjymk9C #Emmys pic.twitter.com/XLdVJcB3zR

— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 18, 2017


Turns out Riz wasn't the only one to win big, either. His big brother Kamran had reason to celebrate too:


And his win meant even rival Ewan McGregor won a bet with a reporter:

Ewan McGregor's prediction for his best actor in a limited series/movie category: "I think Riz (Ahmed) will win it." #Emmys pic.twitter.com/xk7VfbHCrx

— Variety (@Variety) September 17, 2017

Other stars were quickly getting in on the act, including The Big Sick's Kumail Nanjiani:


Good on you, Riz.


Riz wasn't the only Brit star to win on the night. Charlie Brooker won the Outstanding TV Special and Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series awardss for "San Junipero" episode of Black Mirror, while John Oliver and his writing team scooped two prizes for satirical show Last Week Tonight.

The 2017 Emmys proved to be historic in more ways than one: Donald Glover became the first black winner of the award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series, while Master of None's Lena Waithe became the first black woman to win the award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.

Elsewhere, Julia Louis-Dreyfus won the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series the sixth time in a row for Veep, smashing not only Candice Bergen's record of the most Emmys for a singular role, but tying her now with Cloris Leachman's record eight Emmys wins by a singular performer.

Meanwhile the biggest winner of the night was dystopian TV series The Handmaid's Tale, which scooped five awards including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actress for Elisabeth Moss and Outstanding Supporting Actress for Ann O'Dowd.

The Crown, on the other hand, won just one award for John Lithgow's performance as Sir Winston Churchill, while Westworld left empty-handed, having failed to win any of the five awards for which it was nominated.

Variety has a list of all the 2017 Emmy winners.

Did Riz get your vote?