In his category, Riz beat Ewan McGregor (Fargo), Geoffrey Rush (Genius), John Turturro (The Night Of), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: The Lying Detective) and Robert De Niro (The Wizard Of Lies).
The Night Of star Riz Ahmed was a surprise victor at the Emmys last night (September 17), in a category we predicted would be one of the night's most hotly contested.
Riz Ahmed won the Emmy for best actor in a limited series or a television movie on Sunday night for her performance in The Night Of.
While the actor appeared delighted with his first Emmy, the win marks another significant feat.
Ahmed's Nasir Khan, on "The Night Of", is a Pakistani college student who winds up at Rikers Island after becoming involved in a murder investigation.
Commenting on diversity in showbiz, Riz said during a backstage interaction: "I don't know if any one person's win of an award, or one person snagging one role, or one person doing very well changes something, that's a systemic issue..."
"It's always odd reaping the rewards of a story that's based on real world suffering", he said.
"People are streaming shows or watching them all around the world, so hopefully we're going to see a globalisation of the stories we're telling and a globalisation of the talent pool", he said.
Last year, Aziz Ansari became the first South-Asian person nominated for an acting Emmy, but lost to Jeffrey Tambor.
Another historic milestone was achieved by Donald Glover, who became the first African American to win an Emmy for directing a comedy show after triumphing with Atlanta.