GQ Middle East held its first Men of the Year awards this week, and two prominent Egyptians were among the awardees. Egyptian footballer Mohamed Salah and international actor Mena Massoud both received awards at the ceremony which was held at the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Oct. 7.
The footballer snagged the overall award and was named the magazine's "Man of the Year." In his acceptance speech, the 27-year-old said he feels "love and support" wherever he goes.
As for Massoud, the lead actor in the Aladdin remake, he was awarded the "Breakthrough Talent" award during the ceremony.
It's not the first time GQ Middle East gives the 27-year-old footballer a hint of love. At the end of last year, the magazine featured Salah as the cover star of its issue titled "The Unstoppable Rise of Mo Salah," which celebrated his journey to becoming one of the world's best-known footballers.
This is not to say that Salah hasn't disappointed fans in 2019. He was previously hailed as a supporter of women's rights in the Arab world, up until he commented on the sexual allegation charges against fellow national team player Amr Warda. In a series of two tweets, he emphasized that men should respect a woman's decision to reject their advances. Then, Salah's message soon got off the right track. He ruled Warda's actions as "mistakes" and called upon his followers to "believe in second chances" and "guide and educate [offenders]."
"Shunning is not the answer," he wrote at the time. While Salah did not explicitly mention he was addressing Warda's behavior, the subject of his tweets was unquestionably implied.
His comments came just months after he had expressed support for women in Egypt and across the Muslim world in an interview with Time Magazine in April. In his interview with the magazine, Salah called for gender equality in the region and urged his compatriots to improve the way they treat women.
"Had an amazing time celebrating the men and women of GQ Middle East"
Massoud, aka Aladdin, received much attention prior and following the release of Disney's live-action adaptation. He had fans in awe after posting a video in which he invited his Egyptian followers to see the film, all while speaking Arabic.
Massoud was born in Egypt to Coptic parents but was raised in Canada. Before snagging the lead role in Disney's upcoming live-action adaptation, Massoud starred in several films including Jack Ryan (2017), Open Heart (2015), and Saving Hope (2012). In 2019, he's got more than just Aladdin up his alley. Four other movies in which he stars will be released at the end of this year, including American noir-thriller Strange But True and Canadian-American drama Run This Town.
Massoud was also faced with some criticism amid all the fame. In May, social media users brought to light a controversial video shared on the actor's blog, Evolving Vegan, in which he reviewed an Israeli restaurant called AVIV in Portland, Oregon.
Many Arab users called out Massoud for promoting a restaurant that claims Arab food as Israeli and for generally supporting the Israeli business, all the while Israel continues to oppress the Palestinians and commit cultural theft. In response, Massoud tweeted that having grown up in Toronto, he has always visited Israeli restaurants offering Middle Eastern food, claiming he doesn't "really understand the politics of it."
On another note, Nadine Labaki turned up as "Woman of the Year"
This year, which we've dubbed The Year of Nadine Labaki, has been a whirlwind of legendary acclamations for the Lebanese actress and filmmaker. For starters, the fact that her film Capharnaüm was nominated for an Oscar was groundbreaking in and of itself. But the attention and praise haven't stopped there.
Whether she's in front of the camera or behind the scenes, Labaki has proven she is unstoppable throughout her career. Her newest appearance is in a Lebanese film titled 1982. Directed by Oualid Mouanness, the film follows the story of an 11-year-old boy who tries to tell a classmate he loves her but gets caught up in airstrikes that hit Beirut at the start of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Labaki plays the role of an anguished schoolteacher named Yasmeen who's struggling amid the 1982 siege of Beirut.
Now, the legendary filmmaker can add "Woman of the Year" to her list of achievements. GQ Middle East described Labaki as "an award-winning director, actor and campaigner shining a light on social injustice."
"Nadine Labaki is our Woman of The Year," the magazine wrote.