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Labaki shines spotlight on Lebanese cinema despite Oscar loss Open in fullscreen

Sarah Khalil

Labaki shines spotlight on Lebanese cinema despite Oscar loss

Labaki's social-realist epic "Capernaum" was nominated for Best Foreign Film [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 February, 2019

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Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki fell short on taking home an Oscar for her film 'Capernaum', but critics say the nomination put Lebanese cinema on the international stage.
Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki missed out on becoming the first Arab woman to win an Oscar for her film "Capernaum" at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Labaki's social-realist epic "Capernaum" was nominated for Best Foreign Film but lost out to the film "Roma" from Mexico.

Her heart-wrenching story of poverty and survival in Beirut's wretched underclass had won a 15-minute standing ovation and the Jury Prize in Cannes last year.

"I would say it was a little bit expected with all the hype surrounding Netflix's 'Roma', which was also nominated for best Director, Picture and Cinematography," film enthusiast and co-founder of Let's Talk About Movies, Anis Tabet told The New Arab.

"But no matter, it's been a great couple of years for Lebanese cinema and Nadine Labaki should be proud of that," Tabet said.

"She put Lebanese cinema on the international map permanently."

The film's nomination remained a proud moment for Labaki and the "Capernaum" cast, which included 14-year-old Syrian refugee Zain al-Rafeea as lead actor.

It was also a proud moment for Lebanon to be able to showcase its talent on the international stage.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Sunday congratulated Labaki for making it to the Oscars.

"I wish all the best for Nadine Labaki and the crew of the film 'Capernaum' in her Oscar nomination," Hariri wrote on Twitter.

"Our hearts are with you and all of Lebanon is proud of you, Nadine Labaki."

Capernaum has already achieved new milestones for Lebanese cinema and received glowing endorsements from media mogul Oprah Winfrey and others.

Many took to social media to voice their support for Labaki.

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