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These Arab Filmmakers are Among the Invitees for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Farah Nabulsi and Kaouther Ben Hania. Photo: Getty

British-Palestinian filmmaker Farah Nabulsi and Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania have been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences alongside more than 300 of their peers. The Arab creatives are set to hoist Middle Eastern representation in one of the most honorary bodies in the entertainment industry.

Nabulsi has directed the 2020 Oscar-nominated short film The Present, while Ben Hania has created the 2020 Oscar-nominated drama The Man Who Sold His Skin.

After several years of massive expansion focused largely on diversifying its demographics, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Thursday announced its list of 395 invitations for new members, about half of the number of members last year. Fellow regional names on the list include independent film producer Ossama Bawardi, known for the short film Haneen and Iraqi-Dutch filmmaker Mohamed Al-Daradji known for the 2009 war film Sons of Babylon, and other international members include American singer-songwriters Janet Jackson and H.E.R., English actors Hugh Bonneville and Robert Pattinson, American actor Issa Rae, Malaysian actor Henry Golding, Indian actor Vidya Balan and Mexican actor Eiza Gonzalez.

These are people who have “distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures,” according to the Oscars organization.


The 2021 class is made of up 46 percent women, 39 percent underrepresented ethnic/racial communities, and 53 percent international from 49 countries outside of the US. Among them are 89 Oscar nominees and 25 winners.

In 2020, 819 professionals were invited to become Academy members, with at least 15 names from the Middle Eastern region, including Lebanese composer Khaled Mouzanar, Palestinian filmmaker Mai Masri and Tunisian director Meryam Joobeur.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has had more than 10,000 global artists, filmmakers and executives among its members. The 94th Academy Awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on Sunday, March 27, 2022.

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