Mrinal Sen and Nafees Bin Zafar, both of Bangladeshi descent, have been honoured with invitations to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), a professional organisation known around the world for honouring motion pictures artists with the coveted Oscars.
On Wednesday, the Academy announced its list of annual invitees, representing 57 countries from around the world, as part of the biggest collective ever to be linked with the organisation.
Mrinal Sen, a Bangladesh born Indian filmmaker who is often considered to be one of the greatest ambassadors of Indian parallel cinema on the global stage, alongside Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, was invited in two branches of the Academy, as director and writer. The 94 year old veteran was invited for his contribution in The Case Is Closed and In Search of Famine.
Bangladeshi software engineer Nafees Bin Zafar was invited to be a member of the Academy for his contribution in the field of visual effects for Kung Fu Panda 3 and How to Train Your Dragon 2. He has jointly won the Academy Awards twice, once in 2008 for his work on pioneering digital fluid effects now used throughout the visual effects industry, and in 2015 for the development of the Drop large-scale destruction simulation system.
Two other Bengali filmmakers also invited for the coveted membership are Buddhadeb Dasgupta, for his work as a writer in The Wrestlers and The Red Door, and Goutam Ghose, who was invited for directing and writing.
The potential new members of the Academy’s acting branch include Kristen Stewart, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Riz Ahmed, Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai, John Cho, Chris Pratt, Gal Gadot, Naomie Harris, Amy Poehler, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Adam Driver, Elle Fanning, Chris Hemsworth, Kate McKinnon, Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Olsen and Margot Robbie.
Directors on the list include Barry Jenkins, Kim Ki-Duk, David Ayer, Fatih Akin, Alejandro Jodorowsky, David Mackenzie, Tom Ford, Takashi Miike and Guy Ritchie, among others.
The invitations come on the heels of one of the Academy’s most diverse Oscar ceremonies to date, during which the highest number of black winners in history, took home awards. According to the Academy, between 2015 and 2017, the number of women invited into the Academy has increased by 359 percent, while the number of people of colour has jumped 331 percent.
Membership eligibility in the Academy may be achieved by earning a competitive Oscar nomination, or by the sponsorship of two current Academy members from the same branch to which the candidate seeks admission. The membership does not expire, even if a member struggles later in his or her career.