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Netflix wins first Oscar nod for Egypt documentary

The Square, a documentary about the 2011 revolution and ongoing strife in Egypt, is one of five documentary features nominated for the Academy Awards

AFP, Friday 17 Jan 2014
Square
Egyptian activist Ramy Essam (R) in Jehane Noujaim’s documentary The Square. (Photo: Courtesy of Noujaim Films)
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Streaming TV and movie provider Netflix won its first Oscar nomination for The Square, a documentary about the 2011 revolution and ongoing strife in Egypt.

The movie, to be released on Friday, recounts the turmoil in Egypt centered on Cairo's Tahrir Square since the uprising nearly three years ago that ousted long-time president Hosni Mubarak.

Netflix made television history last year when its political drama House of Cards became the first online-only series nominated for a major Emmy award.

Last weekend, Netflix won its first Golden Globe, with Robin Wright taking best drama actress for her Cards role as the wife of Kevin Spacey's scheming congressman Francis Underwood.

It bought the streaming rights for The Square in November, after the documentary won critical acclaim on the festival circuit.

The film follows the revolution through the eyes of six different protestors, starting in the tents of Tahrir Square before Mubarak's fall, according to the movie industry website IMDb.

"This film and this nomination is in honor of not only people in Egypt, but for all who are still struggling," the film's director Jehane Noujaim said in a statement emailed to AFP.

"We made this film to tell the stories of people who are risking all that they have to fight for change -- and to share their hopes and dreams with the world," she added.

she added: "Making this film took us into Tahrir Square and revealed the beauty, power and courage of people -- a courage that has taught us and inspired us, and has personally changed our lives forever.

"The struggle for human rights and freedoms is a universal one and this nomination is an international recognition of that struggle and of that right to have expression.

The Square is one of five documentary features nominated for the Academy Awards, to be handed out in Hollywood on March 2. The others are The Act of Killing, Cutie and the Boxer, Dirty Wars, and 20 Feet from Stardom.

"We are humbled to be sharing this honor with so many other critical films and very talented storytellers who have worked so hard to bring light to untold stories of the world," said Noujaim.

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