3 Muslim Oscar Winners Who Outshone their Contemporaries

3 Muslim Oscar Winners Who Outshone their Contemporaries

Organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy Awards of Merit a.k.a. Oscars are held on an annual basis to celebrate the most prestigious cinematic achievements in the United States of America film industry every year. For all the directors, producers, actors, actresses, cinematographers, visual effects maestros and other technical personnel related to the cinema industry all over the world, the dream is to get hands on this most coveted prize. The Oscars, held for the first time way back in 1929, have become a phenomenon of our modern era and recognize the incredible performances of professionals associated with the entertainment industry in scores of categories ranging from best picture, best director, best actor/actress to best original song and best audio mixing etc. Ever since their inception, there have been very few Muslims who have been able to get their names enlisted as Academy Award winners. Here, we will share with your three leading Muslim Oscar winners who outshone their contemporaries and have now become sources of inspiration for the Muslims all across the globe.

1 – Mir Zafar Ali

Mir Zafar Ali

Conjuring snow by the mere wave of her hands, Princess Elsa in the soul gripping animated wonderland of Frozen, creates her incredible world of snow. Humongous waves wrap themselves around the tall skyscrapers in the blockbuster hit The Day After Tomorrow while in another fantastical land of Life of Pi, the gazillions of hair on the tiger’s body get dried after being soaking wet. And the wizard who was able to blur the line between fantasy and reality in all the amazing sequences mentioned above was none other than the Pakistani Muslim visual effects guru Mir Zafar Ali. Zafar Ali has been able to grab three oscars within a span of just six years. Ali’s first Oscar came for the movie The Golden Compass in 2008 which was followed by his tremendous successes for Frozen and the Life of Pi. Mir Ali Zafar specializes in reincarnating natural phenomena such as water, fire, snow etc. which is not an easy nut to crack by any stretch of imagination. It takes hours and hours of research including watching video footages and going through extensive scientific models. Ali has also worked in movies including X-Men: First Class, The Incredible Hulk, Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3 etc.

2 – Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy

Sharmeen-Obaid-Oscar-Winning-Director 2

After her second Oscars last week for the Documentary titled A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy has become a household name in Pakistan. She holds the distinctive privilege of being the first Pakistani to win an Academy Award and also the first one to win it twice. A Girl in the River is the story of a teenage girl who manages to escape an honour-killing attempt but is coerced by her family members to forgive those involved in the conspiracy to murder her. The Documentary will have its worldwide premiere on HBO in 2016. The first of her documentaries which grabbed the Academy Award was titled Saving Face encompassed the women left horribly scarred by the acid attacks. Sharmeen has also won two Emmys for her documentaries Pakistan’s Taliban Generation and Saving Face. She has also been conferred Pakistan’s second highest civilian award Hilal-e-Imtiaz and was named by the Time Magazine in 2012 in its annual list of Most Influential People in the World.

3 – A R Rahman


An Indian Muslim composer, songwriter, singer and music producer, Allah Rakha Rahman, popularly known as A R Rahman has made his name throughout the world via his soulful music. He has been able to achieve a number of awards of which two Oscars stand out. At the 81st Academy Awards, Rahman was able to get awards for the Best Music Score and Best Original Song. When called on stage to accept the Academy Awards, Rahman uttered All praise to Allah in Tamil before commencing his speech. Converted to Islam in 1989, Rahman’s music is a phenomenal amalgamation of Eastern Classical Music with the World music. He has also bagged a couple of Grammys, a Golden Globe and a Bafta Award as well.