Lebanese director Nadine Labaki's Capharnaum garnered a nomination for a Best Foreign Language Film at the BAFTA awards and is a hot contender for the Best Foreign Film Oscar at the upcoming Academy Awards. The film made the nine-film foreign language Oscar shortlist announced in December but faces a strong battle to win as it competes against films like Alfonso Cuarón’s Golden Lion winner “Roma”.
Giving a huge boost to the film's Oscar chances, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, one of the most high profile Academy members has just thrown her weight behind the film.
Oprah Winfrey praised the filmmaker on Twitter and shared her appreciation of the film and its young actors on Saturday, January 11, tweeting: "These 2 are so compelling on screen and worthy of your time. Story of a young boy who sues his parents for having children they can’t take care of. Makes you think of all the children for whom this story is a daily reality. Bravo team #Capernaum"
The film stars first-time child actors Syrian refugee Zain Rafea, who was 12 when filming, and Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, who was deported from Lebanon to Kenya in March. Most of the film's cast are genuine street children who Labaki met in Beirut while researching the film.
Nadine Labaki’s 'Capernaum' premiered at the Cannes festival last summer winning rave reviews, while Labaki created history as the first female Arab director to win a major prize in competition at Cannes winning the Jury Prize, the film festival's second highest honour. Capernaum received a 15-minute standing ovation at film festivals at Cannes and when it screened at the AFI Festival.
“There’s a lot of interest in cinema from this part of the world because it’s almost like the future of the world is being decided in the Middle East right now,” the award-winning director said in an interview with The National in May 2018. Another Lebanese director, Ziad Doueri's 'The Insult' was the first Lebanese film to make the Best Foreign Film shortlist at last year Oscar's.