This year three Arab films have made it to the Academy Awards nominations. Palestinian thriller Omar, directed by Hany Abu-Assad, is up for Best Foreign Film. The nomination for Assad’s Omar is the second for a Palestinian film, following the nomination for the Director’s Paradise Now in 2006.
Omar is among the five nominees in the category that inlcudes Belgium’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, Cambodia’s The Missing Picture, Denmark’s The Hunt, and Italy’s The Great Beauty. The final five were selected from a shortlist of nine films that had been whittled down from 76 submissions.
A tale of love, betrayal and struggle in the Israeli-occupied territories, Omar received the Un Certain Regard jury prize at last year’s Cannes film festival. The film won Muhr Awards for Best Film and Best Director at the tenth Dubai International Film Festival held in December last year.
Egyptian film The Square has been nominated for Best Documentary. Throughout the Best Foreign Film category’s 58-year history (AMPAS introduced it in 1956), Egypt has never been nominated. As of 2011, the country holds the record (tied with Portugal) of submitting the most films to the competition without ever getting a nomination (28 submissions).
Directed by Jehane Noujaim, The Square won accolades at DIFF 2013, Sundance Film Festival, 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
A third film from the region, Karama Has No Walls will be in the running for Best Documentary Short.
Directed by Sara Ishaq, the documentary follows the events of the March 18, 2011 demonstration, Friday of Dignity (Juma’at El-Karama), in Yemen.
American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street and 12 Years a Slave have been nominated in multiple categories including Best Film and Best Director. Their lead actors Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock among others are also among the nominees.