Jordan's highly acclaimed film " Theeb " is officially in the final running for the 2016 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
The Academy Awards announced the final nominations Thursday afternoon, leaving only five films competing for the award. The other films are "Embrace of the Serpant", "Mustang", "Son of Saul" and "A War".
The Arabic film was directed and co-written by Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar. Nowar’s debut feature film is the only Arabic-language film and the only film from the Middle East and North Africa in the running for the foreign-language film category.
The entire Academy will now decide between which of the five films will be the winner, which will be announced at the Oscars ceremony on Feb. 28.
Iranian Film "A Separation" (Jodaí-e Nadér az Simín) was the last Middle Eastern film to win the foreign-language Oscar, in 2011. In 1969, Algeria's "Z" became the only film from the Arab world to ever win a foreign-language Oscar; however, it is in French. "Theeb" is only the fourth Arabic-language film to be nominated for the award, which was first awarded in 1947.
“Theeb” has already received various regional and international honors and awards, as well as widespread critical acclaim.
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.
The film, credited with being the “first Bedouin Western,” has been widely praised for its originality and authenticity, which stems from the fact that Nowar lived in the Jordanian desert with the country’s Bedouin community for months to learn their way of life and sense of humor in preparation for the film.
Moreover, Nowar chose real-life Bedouin tribesmen to play every Bedouin character in the film, including Theeb, played by Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat. The only professional actor on set was British actor Jack Fox, who played Edward.
The film premiered at the 71st Venice International Film Festival, where it won Nowar the award for best director, it also won best debut film at the 2015 Beijing International Film Festival.
In addition, it won best script at the 43rd Belgrade International Film Festival, best film from the Arab World at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Film Festival and the Jury Prize for Best Cinematography and Artistic Direction at the 2014 Cairo International Film Festival.