Mir Zafar Ali was the first Pakistani to win an Oscar award

by admin

Contrary to urban legend spread by elites in Pakistani media, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is not the first Pakistani to have won an Oscar in the Academy Awards.

The first Oscar winner from Pakistan is Mir Zafar Ali who won this award in 2008.

Mir Zafar Ali is an award-winning Pakistani movie visual effects specialist and artist. He was Technical Director of the team that won the Oscar award for best visual effects in 2007, for the movie The Golden Compass. He is the first Pakistani to have been connected with an Oscar award-winning venture, for Best Visual Effects.

Oscars 2008 was significant in that a Pakistani managed to work on a film that not only picked up a prestigious Academy Award nomination but also won! The man is Mir Zafar Ali, a visual effects specialist, and the film he worked for was the high-profile flick, The Golden Compass, starring Nicole Kidman and “Bond” man Daniel Craig.

The Golden Compass picked up the award for Best Visual Effects and Mir Zafar Ali the ‘Effects Technical Director’ at Rhythm and Hues, the US-based company that worked on this particular film. Those of us who’ve seen the film do not recall a Pakistani man up onstage picking up the Oscar. And the only reason for that is that only the main four supervisors went and picked up the trophy. Of course, if Mir Zafar Ali was as well neworked as Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, he too would have been invited to the stage.

However, Mir Zafar Ali is actually mentioned in the full credits of the film.

Ali comes from the city of Karachi; he initially studied software engineering in college in Pakistan. He is a graduate of the Beaconhouse School System and FAST Institute in Karachi. Not finding software engineering exciting, he decided to start a career in visual effects and specialised from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, United States.


Anwar, Husna (June 14, 2011). “Home-grown talent: Oscar-winning visual effects artist makes Karachi look so good”. Express Tribune. http://tribune.com.pk/story/188292/home-grown-talent-oscar-winning-visual-effects-artist-makes-karachi-look-so-good/

“A Pakistani wins an Oscar!”. PakVibes. http://www.pakvibes.com/articles/comments.php?id=46_0_1_0_C

Jang, Urdu: https://pakistanblogzine.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/1039.gif

15 Responses to “Mir Zafar Ali was the first Pakistani to win an Oscar award”

  1. Thank you, Pakistan Blogzine, for remembering the unsung hero.

    Salute to Mir Zafar Ali.

  2. Both Sharmeen and Mir Zafar have made us proud. However, Mir Zafar does not have right connection in Pakistani media that Sharmeen Chinoy enjoys because of her socio-economic class and political networking with ISPR and Jang.

  3. That’s great, but we can do better by not criticizing the other hero for her attributes. The article reeks with bias, leaving a bitter after taste.
    Congratulations to Zafar.

  4. @Ali, It’s your comment that reeks of bias. Did you give it a thought why Shameen was treated as a start where as Zafar was ignored?

    I really like this post, which is clearly beyond your understanding.

  5. why Shameen was treated as a start where as Zafar was ignored

    The word is star, not start. And that’s because directors go up on stage, but effects people, unless they supervise a unit, don’t.

    As for networking by a certain socio-economic class, especially in the US, I guess then the networking done by Benazir in the US was also illegitimate. But hey Admin, don’t let logic get in the way of your bitter polemics. I’m glad your rat tail has been caught in a chain by a public win by a Pakistani who isn’t so caught up in their bitterness to the point where they can do nothing beyond create multiple blogs.

    And I do recall reading about Mir Zafar Ali before in the Express Tribune, but then again, nothing succeeds like success 😉

  6. @Ali 2

    It’s interesting that bring Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in this discussion and compare her to Sharmeen. BB Shaheed was killed by the establishment whereas Sharmeen licks their boots. Do you understand the difference? BB was and will always rule the hearts of the smelly, downtrodden people of Pakistan who are selectively ignored and exploited Shamreen and her class.

    Your hero Sharmeen callously ridiculed BB shaheed. You ridicule her too. This shows both of you belong to the same mindset and probably the same class.


  7. Ch Saheb,

    Using BB as a strong example of how networking works in the US whether for politics or personal glory is valid and nothing more should be attributed to that comment. Unfortunately BB never did a thing for the smelly down trodden people of this country…she could have started with her home town to improve the lot of the down trodden….by giving away her estate to begin with!!!

    I think credit should be given where due….both Mir Zafar and Sharmeen deserve their credits…it does not really matter who was first or second!!

  8. As a Pakistani I am proud of both Zafar and Sharmeen. I briefly interacted with Sharmeen a few years ago, she wanted to have a favour (promotion of one of her events) that too on front page. I found it quite awkward, she was accompanied by a serving brigadier which made me rather suspicious.

  9. Both are from Sindh province! 🙂 Cheers

  10. A large number of Pakistanis still dont aware of him he and Sharmeen are the rare capital of Pakistan.

  11. Hi friends I want to put Mir Zafar Ali’s story in my Magazine Inspiristan. Can any body give me his contact details? Authentic FB or Twiiter account?


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