Oscar nominated Arab films, Arab films, Oscars, Academy Awards

In previous decades, Arab films rarely made it to the Academy Award nomination lists, but things have been changing in recent years.

The number of local productions is on the rise, and a number of critically acclaimed features and shorts have been seeing nominations nearly every year since 2014. 

Here are 10 Arab films, documentaries, and shorts that scored Oscar nominations in the past five years: 

1. Omar (2014)

Critically-acclaimed director Hany Abu-Assad's feature was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 2014.

The Palestinian feature follows the life of a young freedom fighter living in his country's occupied territories. 

The film's nomination marked the second time Abu-Assad was nominated for an Academy Award. 

In 2006, his film Paradise Now became the first Palestinian film to receive an Oscar nod in the Best Foreign Language Film category. 

2. The Square (2014)

Directed by American-Egyptian Jehane Noujaim, the film was nominated for a Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars in 2014.

Released in 2013, the film captured Egypt's 2011 revolution as it happened and featured real life revolutionaries who were rebelling against their leaders. 

At the time of its release, The Square (Al Midan) was banned from screening in Egypt and faced several "problems with the country's censorship authorities."

3. Karama Has No Walls (2014)

Directed by Sarah Ishaq, Karama Has No Walls was the first-ever Yemeni film to be nominated for an Oscar. 

In 2014, the film was nominated in the Best Documentary - Short Subjects category. 

Its story "encapsulates the tragic events of the Friday of 'Karama', a day that changed the course of the 2011 Yemeni revolution." 

4. Timbuktu (2015)

Timbuktu was the first-ever Mauritanian film to be nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.

Co-written and directed by prominent Mauritanian-French director Abderrahmane Sissako, the film follows the story of a cattle herder and his family whose lives change when jihadists take over their village. 

In 2016, 177 film critics from across the world voted the feature as the 36th best film of the 21st century.

5. Theeb (2016)

Jordan's highly acclaimed film Theeb was the country's first-ever film to get an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. 

In 2016, it became the fourth Arabic-language film to be nominated for the award. 

The film was directed and co-written by Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar, and was considered the only submission from the Middle East and North Africa in the running for the Best Foreign Language Film category. 

The drama is a coming-of-age tale that tells the story of a young Bedouin boy named Theeb who goes on a remarkable journey through the Arabian desert during World War I to guide a British officer to his destination.

6. Ave Maria (2016)

In 2016, this 14-minute Palestinian film was nominated for an Academy Award under the Best Live Action - Short Film category. 

Directed and co-written by Basil Khalil, the short film "tells the story of a convent on the West Bank whose silent world is disrupted after Jewish settlers crash their vehicle into a statue of the Virgin Mary on the convent's grounds." 

The short film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and toured over 75 festivals in 30 countries in the months after its release. 

7. The White Helmets (2017)

Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, the 40-minute Netflix documentary follows the lives of the White Helmets members, "a volunteer rescue group that operates in rebel-held parts of Syria." 

It was nominated for an Academy Award under the Best Documentary - Short Subject and won the award during the 2017 Oscar ceremony. 

8. The Insult (2018)

Lebanese filmmaker Ziad Douieri's The Insult was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 2018. 

Though it didn't end up winning, it was the first-ever Lebanese film in history to make it that far in the Oscar race. 

Set in modern-day Beirut, the feature revolves around a minor argument that erupts between Toni, a Lebanese Christian, and Yasser, a Palestinian refugee, and eventually escalates into an intense legal battle that becomes a matter of public opinion.

9. Last men in Aleppo (2018)

Written and directed by Feras Fayyad, Last Men In Aleppo follows members of the "White Helmets" as they scour the city for innocents in need of rescue.

The film received critical acclaim upon its release and was nominated for a Best Documentary Feature award in 2018. 

10. Capharnaüm (2019)

This year, Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki made history by becoming the first Lebanese female director to be nominated for an Oscar. 

Her film Capharnaüm is set to compete for the Best Foreign Language Film award at the 91st Academy Awards, which are set to be held on the 24th of Feb. 

The feature tells the story of a child who struggles to survive and sues his family "for giving him life in the first place."

Following the film's release, Labaki received international acclamation and earned a 15-minute standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival last year.