While the Academy awards have a huge influence on the industry, women keep breaking the glass ceiling on the platform. For the 91st Academy awards, Nadine Labaki, a Lebanese filmmaker, has made history with an Oscar nomination for her film Capernaum. The nomination is for the Best Foreign Language Film.

Labaki is the first Arab woman filmmaker to be nominated in the category of best foreign language film

Lebanese director breaks record

Labaki is the only female director among the five nominees competing. This is the second consecutive year that a Lebanese director is among the nominees for an Academy Award. Last year, Ziad Doueiri’s The Insult was nominated from Lebanon.

Her film, ‘Capernaum’ (meaning chaos), had previously been nominated for a foreign language BAFTA and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film

“It’s a national pride,” Labaki told The Associated Press. “Lebanon doesn’t have a real cinema industry in the real sense of the term. With our first nominee last year and this one this year, it’s a big step.”

“We have always thought as Lebanese people that unfortunately nothing is possible because we always thought Lebanon is a very small country and we have always felt that we are almost invisible on the map,” she said.

Read: Rayka Zehtabchi’s ‘Period. End of Sentence’ Nominated For Oscar

Set in the Middle East’s growing refugee crisis, Capernaum is a story of a 12-year-old Lebanese boy who steals and begs in order to survive on the streets of Beirut. Later, he proceeds to sue his parents for bringing him into a world of suffering. The film mostly features non-professional actors, some of whom are actual street children.

Some of Hollywood’s biggest names has praised the film, including Oprah Winfrey who had tweeted in support for the film saying, “worthy of your time”.

Marvel Cinematic Universe villain, Josh Brolin, shared a lengthy post about the film on Instagram and captioned it as: “Finally! A film reminding me why I loved films in the first place.”

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Finally! A film reminding me why I loved films in the first place; why I loved those late night stories told to me; why I knew I was fortunate to be able to make the decision to travel, get out of my comfort zone, and see that there were many different cultures, goings on, realities of poverty and desperation as well as care and altruism first ignited by the power of film, the power of storytelling. We watched @capharnaumthefilm tonight and felt like we accidentally watched someone’s covertly chronicled story/life — a fly on hell’s window. We torture between wanting to believe in our culture, our rights, and a very simple pull to help those in need. We are human. They are human. We are the same. Take away all that was created by man and God reveals his truly miraculous work: humanity. One humanity. @caphernaumthefilm #capernaum #lettheheartreign

A post shared by Josh Brolin (@joshbrolin) on

Selma director Ava DuVernay tweeted:

Labaki’s achievements

Labaki also made history for being the first female Arab director to win the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival last year. The premiere screening of ‘Capernaum’ during the festival received standing ovation.

Speaking about the film and the message it portrays, Labaki said, “Anything is possible, it doesn’t matter where you come from, where you are born.”

“You just have to believe in your dream,” Labaki

“Thank you to everyone who supported us on this wonderful journey,” read a message posted on Capernaum’s Twitter page Tuesday morning.

“The next chapter starts today!”

The 91st Academy Awards ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on February 25.

Feature Image Credit: Emirates Woman

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