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Several South Asian artists invited to join Academy of Motion Picture

Among the 487 distinguished artists and executives recently invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the list featured a plethora of South Asian talent joining Hollywood’s ranks.

This list includes Indian directors S.S. Rajamouli (RRR, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion) and Rima Das (Village Rockstars, Bulbul Can Sing), Pakistani American filmmaker Minhal Baig (We Grown Now, Hala) and Indo Canadian filmmaker Nisha Pahuja (To Kill a Tiger, The World Before Her), Indian director Hemal Trivedi (In Search of My Sister, Among the Believers), Indian actress Shabana Azmi (Neerja, Godmother), and British Bangladeshi screenwriter, director, actress Nazrin Choudhury (Red, White, and Blue, Fear the Walking Dead) and British-Indian director Anand Tucker (The Critic, Hilary and Jackie).

According to the Academy, “Membership selection is based on professional qualifications, with an ongoing commitment to representation, inclusion and equity,”.

“We are thrilled to welcome this year’s class of new members to the Academy”, said Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang in a statement released on June 25. “These remarkably talented artists and professionals from around the world have made a significant impact on our filmmaking community.”.

The list of names was revealed to The Times of India by Ujwal Nirgudkar, an Indian technical advisor who joined the AMPAS in 2017.

Many of the South Asian members joining the AMPAS have been awarded and nominated for numerous awards for their work. Rajamouli’s RRR, made history at last year’s Academy Awards by becoming the first Indian film by an Indian production to win an Oscar. Tucker’s Hilary and Jackie “was called ‘one of the best British films of the decade’ by The Sunday Times”, as reported on by American Kahani, and won Tucker the BIFA Best Director Award.

Trivedi’s documentary short, Saving Face, won an Emmy for Outstanding Editing: Documentary and Long Form in 2013, while Among the Believers was nominated for and won numerous accolades from 2015 to 2017. Pahuja’s documentary film, To Kill a Tiger, was nominated for Best Documentary Feature, and Choudhury’s short film Red, White, and Blue received a nomination for Best Documentary Feature and Best Live Action Short Film at the 96th Academy Awards.

The other South Asian members include Indian cinematographer Ravi Varman (Ponniyin Selvan: II, Kaatru Veliydai), Indian fashion and costume designers Sheetal Sharma (Manto, Judgement Hai Kya) and Rama Rajamouli (RRR, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion), Indian film producer Ritesh Sidhwani (Inside Edge, Dil Chahta Hai), and Indian American film producer Gitesh Pandya.

Many of the new members have expressed their gratitude on social media. In a tweet, Baig said “I’ve been a director for a decade. I’m so incredibly honored to join the Academy alongside such an impressive group of filmmakers.”. Rajamouli took to Twitter as well, saying “Thank you @TheAcademy … It’s been an honor”. On Instagram, Choudhury said that “It’s official: So happy and proud to be part of this global community of filmmakers.”.

As reported by Deadline, 44% of the 2024 class identify as women, 41% belong to underrepresented ethnic/racial minorities, and 56% are from 56 countries and territories outside the United States.

In recent years, the Academy has sought to diversity it’s membership. According to OTTplay, The Academy has said that the reason for these efforts is “to enable steady future growth and ensure the necessary infrastructure, staff resources, and environment to support all Academy members.”. With the addition of the Academy’s 2024 class, 35% of Academy members are women, 20% are members of historically underrepresented racial or ethnic groups, and 20% are citizen of countries and territories outside the United States.

If all invitees accept the invitation, the membership at the AMPAS with number at 10,910. Of that number, 9,934 will have the right to vote for the upcoming 97th Academy Awards in 2025.

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