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Kaouther Ben Hania Makes History as the First Arab Woman with Two Oscar Nominations

The long-awaited Oscar nominations are out, and Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania has just made history.

Kaouther Ben Hania oscar

Kaouther Ben Hania. Photo: Getty

In a proud moment for Middle Eastern and North African cinema, and the female talents at its center, Kaouther Ben Hania has become the first Arab woman to hold two Oscar nominations. The news came on Tuesday, when the Academy Awards revealed the full list of films, actors, and directors in the running to win the statuette at the 2024 ceremony, which is scheduled to take place on March 11. Ben Hania received the coveted nomination in the Best Documentary Feature Film category for Four Daughters or Les Filles d’Olfa starring Tunisian actor Hend Sabri.

The film has been widely acclaimed following its world premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, where it competed for a Palme d’Or, and also received a standing ovation upon its screening. An international co-production between Saudi Arabia, France, Tunisia, and Germany, Four Daughters is a powerful drama and tells the story of a Tunisian mother seeking answers after her two elder daughters are radicalized and disappear to join ISIS.

Ben Hania has previously been recognized by the Academy Awards in 2021 for her film The Man Who Sold His Skin with a nomination, while her feature Beauty and the Dogs was selected as the Tunisian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film in 2017. Other female Arab filmmakers to have been nominated for an Oscar over the past years include Palestinian filmmaker Farah Al Nabulsi for The Present, and Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki for Capernaum. As for the male talents, Palestinian director Hany Abu Assad has also been nominated for his films Paradise Now and Omar, while Egyptian-American actor Rami Malek notably became the first Best Actor Academy Award winner of Arab heritage in 2019.

Read Next: Oscars 2024: See the Full List of Nominations

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