‘Sound Of Metal’ Breakout & Oscar Nominee Paul Raci Says Academy’s “Metamorphosing Into Something Better” With Diverse Honorees

Sound of Metal breakout star Paul Raci, after nearly 30 years of small TV roles here and there, landed his first Oscar nomination.

“If I had to wait this long for this recognition, it was well worth it,” he told Deadline.

Raci, whose Joe attempts to help Riz Ahmed’s Ruben navigate the world as an addict musician who has almost completely lost his hearing, received a nomination for best supporting actor on Monday morning. Ahmed also took home an Oscar nom, becoming the first Muslim nominated for the best actor category.

The Baskets and Parks and Recreation actor, who often served as an interpreter for his deaf parents, said Sound of Metal benefited from the authentic and complex portrayals of the deaf community. Channeling his own experience as an addict and veteran, Raci said acknowledgement for multi-layer and realistic depictions of the deaf experience gives him hope for better representation of different abilities in Hollywood.

“Hollywood needs to do more, they know that. I think that Sound of Metal is going to open up that conversation. It’s gonna give some more room to that and more attention, he said.”

He added that the diverse slate of nominees – which features a number of historical nominations for Steven Yeun, Chloe Zhao and Viola Davis –  may also signal more change in what it means to be an Oscar-worthy title or performance, and some healing in the country’s divide.

“I think the Academy has done a great thing here in recognizing such small-budgeted movies alongside these monsters, that’s an improvement there,” he said. “I think it is changing, it is metamorphosing into something better, just as we are metamorphosing into something better right now with our recent election.”

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