The 96th Academy Awards are only a few months away, which means now is the time when films start generating Oscar buzz. As always, a number of titles created by regional filmmakers have been selected to join the race for one of the most prestigious accolades in the industry.
The entries for the highly regarded Best International Feature Film award include Egypt’s Voy! Voy! Voy! by writer and director Omar Hilal, who makes his feature film debut with this movie. Starring Nelly Karim and Mohamed Farag, the dark comedy tells the story of Hassan, an unfortunate Egyptian security guard living with his mother who wishes to travel and live abroad. After discovering the sport of football for the visually impaired, he feigns blindness to join a team and escape to Europe for the World Cup tournament.
Other films in the category that could be shortlisted and eventually nominated are Tunisia’s Four Daughters by Kaouthar Ben Hania, Moroccan documentary The Mother of All Lies by Asmae El Moudir, and Yemen’s The Burdened by Amr Gamal. The latter also marks the second time a film by Gamal has been submitted to the Oscars, after his romantic comedy 10 Days Before the Wedding was selected as a candidate in 2018. As for Ben Hania’s film, Four Daughters (Les Filles d’Olfa) had been the only Arab entry for the top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and went on to receive a standing ovation. It stars Hend Sabri in the titular role of Olfa Hamrouni whose two daughters leave to fight for Daesh.