Palestinian film, Omar, has been nominated for an Oscar, making it the second-ever film from Palestine to compete for the prestigious film award.
The nomination came on Thursday morning when it was announced that it will contest in the best foreign language film category and will go up against Italy’s The Great Beauty, which has already won a Golden Globe award.
Other films vying for the award are The Broken Circle Breakdown from Belgium, Denmark’s The Hunt, and Cambodia’s The Missing Picture.
The film’s director, Hany Abu-Assad, told Al Jazeera that his film has the potential to help the world understand Palestine.
“It is an example of the kind of attention for a film from a certain area to bring further attention to the rest of the area it belongs to. Like Iran in recent years where people did not know much about the Iranian cinema or the narrative of their people but by giving them international attention,” he said.
“Of course it ends up being a positive effect.”
Abu-Assad’s Paradise Now was nominated for the Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2005, which gained considerable controversy when the Academy Awards initially referred it as a film from the ‘Palestinian Authority’ and then subsequently as a film from the ‘Palestinian Territories’.
Paradise Now’s inclusion in the 78th edition of the awards was Palestine’s first ever nomination for an Oscar.
The Academy Awards, however, have listed Omar under Palestine this year and Abu-Assad says that this is a step in the right direction for his country.
“There is no doubt that this is a Palestinian film,” Abu-Assad said. “And it is right for them to list Omar under Palestine,” he added. Omar is 95 percent Palestinian-funded with the rest coming from Dubai-based backers, according to the film’s director.
Omar, which stars Adam Bakri as the film’s protagonist, is a West Bank story of a young man who becomes entangled in the murder of an Israeli soldier while involved in a love affair and its consequences against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Winners of the 86th edition of the Oscars will be announced on March 2 during a ceremony at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater.
(Al Jazeera and agencies – www.aljazeera.com)