Two films were submitted from MENA region countries for the Best Foreign-Language Oscar film award. From Lebanon: Where Do We Go Now? directed by Nadine Labaki and from Morocco: Omar m'a tuer (Omar Killed Me) directed by Roschdy Zem.
After the 30 September nomination deadline passes, the Academy will rule whether these films are eligible and can proceed to compete for the Oscar.
Where Do We Go Now? is set in a remote Lebanese village, the film centres on a group of women who use a variety of ruses (including hiring Ukranian strippers) to distract their men from the religious tensions that threaten to disrupt the village's cordial relationships between Christians and Muslims. In a category where the vast majority of nominees are serious dramas, submitting a comedy-and-music-spiked look at Middle East tension might be a dangerous strategy; however, the film did beat out far higher-profile entries to win the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival.
Omar Killed Me is a true story of a Moroccan immigrant imprisoned for murder near Cannes. The movie examines the French penal system where police and prosecutors were eager to pin the crime on a convenient target.
Director Zem is also currently receiving raves for the limited state-side release of Point Blank.