Syrian documentary ‘For Sama’ shortlisted for an Oscar

Syrian documentary ‘For Sama’ shortlisted for an Oscar
The Syrian documentary was shortlisted for an Academy Award. Supplied
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Updated 17 December 2019

Syrian documentary ‘For Sama’ shortlisted for an Oscar

Syrian documentary ‘For Sama’ shortlisted for an Oscar
  • The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the shortlists of semi-finalists in nine categories
  • Syrian documentary "For Sama" has been shortlisted for the Best Documentary Feature Award

DUBAI: Waad Al-Khateab just got one step closer to winning an Oscar.

On Tuesday, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the shortlists of semi-finalists in nine separate categories all at once. The categories are foreign-language film, animated short, documentary feature, documentary short, live-action short, makeup and hairstyling, visual effects, original score and best original song.

The Syrian director’s gripping documentary “For Sama” has been shortlisted for the Best Documentary Feature Award at the upcoming Oscars.

It’s been selected by Members of the Documentary branch alongside Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska’s “Honeyland,” the Todd Douglas Miller-directed “Apollo 11” and Petra Costa’s “The Edge of Democracy” among others.

Click here to read our interview with the director. 

The fifteen films were selected among a field of 159 submissions.

The news comes shortly after it was announced that the moving documentary, which won the Prix L’Œil d’Or for Best Documentary at the Cannes Film Festival 2019, took home Best Film at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) earlier this month, in addition to winning the Best Director, Best Documentary and Best Editing awards.

Sama, for whom the film is named, is the name of Al-Khateab and her husband Hamza’s young daughter, who was born during Aleppo’s siege and lived through it for the first year of her life before the three of them were forced to flee. 

Unflinching in its footage, the documentary, which was two years in the making, features often-horrifying visuals of the people of Aleppo mortally wounded, in distress, dead and dying.

The fifteen movies on the list will be narrowed down to five when the official nominations for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on January 13, with one month before the Oscars.

Meanwhile, other films not necessarily from the Middle East but about the region that were shortlisted for an Oscar include Brandt Andersen's “Refugee” and the Yves Piat-directed “Nefta Football Club.” Both films are vying for the Live Action Short Film prize. 

See the full lists below:

Documentary Feature

“Advocate”
“American Factory”
“The Apollo”
“Apollo 11”
“Aquarela”
“The Biggest Little Farm”
“The Cave”
“The Edge of Democracy”
“For Sama”
“The Great Hack”
“Honeyland”
“Knock Down the House”
“Maiden”
“Midnight Family”
“One Child Nation”

Documentary Short Subject

“After Maria”
“Fire in Paradise”
“Ghosts of Sugar Land”
“In the Absence”
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)”
“Life Overtakes Me”
“The Nightcrawlers”
“St. Louis Superman”
“Stay Close”
“Walk Run Cha-Cha”

International Feature Film

Czech Republic, “The Painted Bird”
Estonia, “Truth and Justice”
France, “Les Misérables”
Hungary, “Those Who Remained”
North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
Poland, “Corpus Christi”
Russia, “Beanpole”
Senegal, “Atlantics”
South Korea, “Parasite”
Spain, “Pain and Glory”

Makeup and Hairstyling

“Bombshell”
“Dolemite Is My Name”
“Downton Abbey”
“Joker”
“Judy”
“Little Women”
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”
“1917”
“Once upon a Time…in Hollywood”
“Rocketman”

Original Score

“Avengers: Endgame”
“Bombshell”
“The Farewell”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Frozen II”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Joker”
“The King”
“Little Women”
“Marriage Story”
“Motherless Brooklyn”
“1917”
“Pain and Glory”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“Us”

Original Song

“Speechless” from “Aladdin”
“Letter To My Godfather” from “The Black Godfather”
“I’m Standing With You” from “Breakthrough”
“Da Bronx” from “The Bronx USA”
“Into The Unknown” from “Frozen II”
“Stand Up” from “Harriet”
“Catchy Song” from “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”
“Never Too Late” from “The Lion King”
“Spirit” from “The Lion King”
“Daily Battles” from “Motherless Brooklyn”
“A Glass of Soju” from “Parasite”
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman”
“High Above The Water” from “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am”
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from “Toy Story 4”
“Glasgow” from “Wild Rose”

Animated Short Film

“Dcera (Daughter)”
“Hair Love”
“He Can’t Live without Cosmos”
“Hors Piste”
“Kitbull”
“Memorable”
“Mind My Mind”
“The Physics of Sorrow”
“Sister”
“Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days”

Live Action Short Film

“Brotherhood”
“The Christmas Gift”
“Little Hands”
“Miller & Son”
“Nefta Football Club”
“The Neighbors’ Window”
“Refugee”
“Saria”
“A Sister”
“Sometimes, I Think about Dying”

Visual Effects

“Alita: Battle Angel”
“Avengers: Endgame”
“Captain Marvel”
“Cats”
“Gemini Man”
“The Irishman”
“The Lion King”
“1917”
“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
“Terminator: Dark Fate”