Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki became the first ever female Arab filmmaker to bag an Oscar nomination after her film Capernaum was selected in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Her nomination at the prestigious film awards follows her win of the famed Jury Prize at Cannes this May. Labaki was also shortlisted for the Palme d’Or—the festival’s top prize.
Capernaum is an Arabic-language film that narrates the tale of 12-year old boy Zain, who sues his parents for siring him when they did not have the means to care for him.
The Arab director was specially praised for filming the movie on a smaller budget with amateur actors. Its lead actor, Zain Al Rafeea, was a Syrian refugee who worked as a delivery boy in Lebanon before Labaki selected him to play a role in the movie.
Earlier this month, media mogul and one of Academy members, Oprah Winfrey, tweeted her appreciation about the film, saying that the two young protagonists were “compelling on screen.”
A graduate of Beirut University, Labaki started her career by making adverts and music videos. In 2005, she took part in the Cannes Film Festival Residence in order to write Caramel, her first feature film.
She was also featured in Forbes Middle East’s Arab Stars On the Global Stage ranking in 2018.
Labaki is not the only Arab filmmaker to shine at the Oscars. Egyptian-American director Jehane Noujaim was nominated for her work, The Square, within the Best Feature Documentary category in 2013 while 2017 saw another Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Doueiri nominated for Oscars his film The Insult.