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News > World

Nadine Labaki, 1st Arab Female Director to Get Oscar Nomination

  • Nadine Labaki, a Lebanese director is the first Arab woman to receive Oscar nomination.

    Nadine Labaki, a Lebanese director is the first Arab woman to receive Oscar nomination. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 January 2019

Nadine Labaki, a Lebanese director is the first Arab woman whose film “Capernaum” received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film

Lebanese film director Nadine Labaki made history as the first Arab woman whose film “Capernaum,” which means chaos, received Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.


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The nomination of a Lebanese picture for the Best Foreign Language Film award for the second year running is also a milestone for Arab and Lebanese cinema, Labaki told Reuters after the nominees were announced.

Much of the plot of the movie, which depicts poverty in the slums of Beirut, is based on events that Labaki witnessed or cast members experienced, and includes biting social commentary that helped secure the Jury Prize at the Cannes film festival in May.

The film is about a 12-year-old boy suing his abusive parents for the crime of giving birth to him and follows his struggles living on streets.

The protagonist is played by a young Syrian refugee, while another young cast member was thrown in jail during the shoot, and a third was deported to Kenya with her mother.

Labaki received a BAFTA nomination last month, and was also in the running for Golden Globe, but lost to Mexican movie “Roma”.

Last year, Lebanon gained its first nomination for a foreign language Oscar with "The Insult" by Ziad Doueiri, a film that examines Lebanon's sectarian tensions through a street argument that leads to a trial.

"This is definitely very important for Arab cinema, the Lebanese especially," Labaki said. "It's like we started our first steps in international cinema."

"It's national pride," Labaki told The Associated Press. "Lebanon doesn't have a real cinema industry in the real sense of the term. With our first nominee last year and this one this year, it's a big step.

Lebanese filmmaker Oualid Mouaness agreed, saying, "It's an incredible honor for the country, and I think it really creates visibility to Lebanese cinema and creates support."

The other films nominated for Best Foreign Language Film are "Roma" from Mexico, "Cold War" from Poland, "Shoplifters" from Japan and "Never Look Away" from Germany. Labaki, however, is the only female director amongst all the nominees of this category.

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