The Academy Awards aren’t best known for their diversity or inclusivity – but that doesn’t mean that people don’t push boundaries and continually strive to make it to the red carpets of the Oscars.
The prestigious awards show is a major deal for film directors, actors, producers and anyone in the film industry- its seen as the pinnacle of success.
Though it is rare to see many Arabs gracing the Oscars, there are some who have paved the way and these are just some of the notable times we saw them being represented and honored at the highly anticipated annual event…
The first ever Arab film to be submitted to the Academy Awards was Youssef Chahine’s “Cairo Station” – the film didn’t quite get a nomination, but it was a noted moment and movie.
The critically acclaimed movie is about a love triangle between 3 characters who all work at the station, and starred Farid Chawky, Hend Rostom and the director himself, Youssef Chahine.
The First Saudi Film Was Submitted In 2014
Haifaa Al Mansour’s 2014 film, Wadjda, was the first ever Saudi Arabian film, and also the first feature length film to be shot entirely in the kingdom, to be submitted for an Academy Award.
Unfortunately, the film didn’t obtain a nomination but certainly didn’t go unnoticed as it was a hugely progressive step for Saudi.
Rami Malek Took Home An Oscar In 2019
For his depiction of the front man of legendary pop band, Queen, Rami Malek took home the Oscar for Best Actor. Playing Freddie Mercury in his biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek is the first Arab to take home an Academy Award – and when he won, Malek dedicated his win to his Egyptian immigrant parents as he made history.
Arabs Are Now Part Of The Voting Process At The Academy Awards
Khadija Al-Salami,Yousra andTalal Derki
Last year, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the members who will join the Oscars' voting committee, and 12 Arab stars made it to the list:
From Lebanon: Christopher Aoun, Jihad Hojeily, Hussein Baydoun, and Georges Schoucair
From Egypt: Yousra, Amr Salama, Karim Amer, and Mohamed Hefzy
From other parts of the Arab region: Talal Derki (Syria), Raja Amari (Tunisia), Khadija Al-Salami (Yemen), and Maryam Touzani (Morocco)
Nadine Labaki Is The First Arab Woman To Obtain A Nomination
Lebanese actress turned film director, Nadine Labaki, earned herself a Golden Globes nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category, for Capharnaum. Making history, last year, she also earned herself a nomination at the Academy Awards, making her the first ever female Lebanese filmmaker to make it.