Middle East films nominated at 92nd Oscars

“For Sama,” a documentary about a young filmmaker living in Aleppo during the Syrian war was among the regional films nominated. (Handout)
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Updated 13 January 2020

Middle East films nominated at 92nd Oscars

DUBAI: Films hailing from the region, or about the Middle East, have been nominated in the Live Action Short category and the Documentary Feature category at the 2020 Academy Awards, set to take place on Feb. 9.

“Nefta Football Club,” a 2018 Live Action short film directed by French director Yves Piat and Damien Meghrebi, was nominated alongside “Brotherhood” by Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon.

Scroll down to watch Arab News’ interview with Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad and click here for our interview with Waad Al-Kateab

In “Brotherhood,” a hardened Tunisian shepherd’s son returns home after a long journey with a new wife, only to find tension rising between father and son in this short film by Tunisian director Joobeur.

“Nefta Football Club” focuses on children playing football in a Tunisian village, just as characters Abdallah and Mohammed come across a donkey with headphones on his ears and bags full of a white powder on his back.

Meanwhile, “The Cave” by Syrian director Feras Fayyad  and “For Sama” by Syrian auteur Waad Al-Kateab also scored nominations in the Documentary Feature category. 

“For Sama” focusses on Al-Khateab, a filmmaker living in Aleppo as she goes about her life from the start of the uprising through to the brutal siege of the city by Bashar Al-Assad’s forces and their allies.

For its part, “The Cave” tells the story of Amani Ballor, who amidst the civil war became the first woman to manage a hospital in the history of the country.


Arab designs add flair to the SAGs red carpet

Jennifer Lopez was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award for her role in “Hustlers.” (AFP)
Updated 21 min 40 sec ago

Arab designs add flair to the SAGs red carpet

DUBAI: Arab designers took over the red carpet at Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Yvonne Strahovski and Sian Clifford showing off looks from the Middle East.

Singer and actress Lopez, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award for her role in “Hustlers,” showed off a sleek black number by Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika, complete with an off-the-shoulder neckline and thigh-high slit. The column gown featured a floor-grazing train and the star accessorized the look with sparkling diamonds and a chic up-do with fronds of hair framing her face.

Meanwhile, Australian actress Strahovski opted for an all-white look by London-based Emirati label Khyeli.

Jennifer Lopez showed off a sleek black number by Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika. (AFP)

Helmed by designer Ahmed Khyeli, the fashion house dressed Strahovski in an ethereal column gown from its Spring/Summer 2020 collection.

The look featured a peek-a-boo cutout on the bodice, along with elegant off-the-shoulder sleeves that ended just above the elbows.

British stage and TV actress Clifford chose to show off a dramatic burgundy velvet pantsuit, complete with a plunging neckline and gold detailing on the jet black lapels. The glamorous evening look came courtesy of Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad.

Yvonne Strahovski opted for an all-white look by London-based Emirati label Khyeli. (AFP)

The leading ladies were all in attendance when South Korean film “Parasite” shocked the Screen Actors Guild Awards by landing the night’s top prize, a historic win which thrusts the black comedy into Oscars contention.

The critical smash hit film overcame the language barrier to win outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture, the SAG equivalent of a best film Academy Award, AFP reported.

“I’m a little embarrassed feeling like we’re the parasites of Hollywood now,” joked actor Lee Sun-Kyun.

Director Bong Joon-Ho admitted that “it is true that the momentum is building” for the Oscars.

Sian Clifford chose to show off a dramatic burgundy velvet pantsuit. (AFP)

The film, which merges comedy, drama and horror genres, follows a poor family as it infiltrates a wealthier household, and tackles the widening class gulf.

“Although the title is ‘Parasite,’ I think the film is about coexistence and how we can all live together,” said star Song Kang-ho, collecting the award.

The much-hyped movie had missed out on main prizes at the Golden Globes and Saturday’s Producers Guild Awards.

But Sunday’s win underlines the breakout movie’s extraordinary popularity in Hollywood.

It beat “Bombshell,” “The Irishman,” “Jojo Rabbit” and “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood” at the star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles.