Oscar Winner Mir Zafar Ali – Magician Behind Numerous Hollywood Hits Making Pakistan Proud

Ever wondered how Pakistanis are working in the field of visual? Well, here is some awesome news for you! A proud Pakistani made his mark in Hollywood film industry, yes, you read it right.. HOLLYWOOD!

*Drum rolls* and that proud Pakistani is….

Mir Zafar Ali

Mir Zafar Ali!

Mir Zafar Ali’ is a Pakistani movie visual effects specialist and artist. He played a background role in the team that won the Academy Award award for best visual effects in 2007, for the movie The Golden Compass. He is the first Pakistani to have been connected with an Academy Award winning venture, for Best Visual Effects.


Born into a Muslim family in Karachi, Pakistan, Mir Zafar Ali initially studied software engineering. He is a graduate of the Beaconhouse School System and FAST Institute in Karachi. He didn’t really find software engineering exciting, so, he decided to start a career in visual effects and specialized from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, United States.

Work History:

Mir Zafar Ali has worked for quite a few local companies including Sharp Image, Nucleus Studios and Carrot before he went to the United States in 2000, where he enrolled at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia where he specialised in visual effects (as mentioned above). In 2003, soon after completing his BFA in Computer Animation, Ali was offered a position at Digital Domaina company that is best-known for its contribution to the visual effects in many films; Titanic, Fight Club and The Fifth Element to name just a few.


This amazingly talented artist behind many graphic wizardries in Hollywood, deserves the three Oscar awards he has won in six years.


His latest Academy Award, for Frozen, was the first in the animation category for the Walt Disney Animation Studios. This fantastic 3D musical fantasy-comedy film is currently the highest-grossing animated film in the history, beating the giants; Lion King and Toy Story 3. Frozen has also made it to the top 10 biggest films, leaving far behind the movies like Star Wars and the Pirates of the Caribbean series.


In 2008, Ali won his First Oscar for “The Golden Compass“. He didn’t expect to win the Oscar since there were many big movies in that category including  Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. As he said.. “It took a few good seconds to sink in”

life of pi

Mir Zafar Ali won his second Academy Award last year for the Life of Pi. This movie is based on Yann Martel’s acclaimed novel. In Life of Pi, a real tiger and a digital one were used interchangeably for the very first time.

Fact: A team of about 15 people were dedicated to creating just the fur by placing and combing all 10 million hair on the tiger’s body.

Other brilliant movies in which Ali has worked his magic are: The Cabin in the Woods (2011), X-Men: First Class (2011), Hop (2011), Yogi Bear (2011), Aliens in the Attic (2009), Island of the Lost (2009), The Mummy (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008), The Golden Compass (2007), Surf’s Up (2007), Spider-Man 3 (2007), Ghost Rider (2007), Open Season (2006), Monster House (2006), Stealth (2005), and The Day After Tomorrow (2004).

So, what do you people think of this amazingly talented Pakistani magician? Interesting, inspiring or what? Do let us know in the comments section below!

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