Jordanians, Arabs get Oscar fever over 'Theeb'

Jordanians, Arabs get Oscar fever over 'Theeb'
Arabs are following the Oscars tonight hoping two entries from the region, ‘Ave Maria’ and ‘Theeb’, will take home cinema's greatest prizes.
2 min read
29 Feb, 2016
Billed as a "Bedouin Western", Theeb is nominated for best foreign film [Getty]
Jordanians and Arabs are holding their breaths tonight ahead of the 88th Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars.

Jordanian production Theeb has been tipped to win the best foreign language film category at the star-studded awards' ceremony.

With hours to go before the results are announced, Jordanians and Arabs took to social media  posting messages of support and expressing their pride in this milestone for Jordanian cinema.

Whether the film beats the four other contenders or not, the makers of Theeb have done Jordan proud, they have said.

In Jordan's capital Amman, parties are being held in honour of the Oscars. If Theeb returns home with an Oscar, it would be a first for the country and celebrations would likely continue throughout the night.

Special costumes inspired by the kingdom's tribal traditions were worn by cast and crew on the red carpet. A promotion campaign has even given the Oscar statue a makeover with the traditional Bedouin headdress. 

Theeb ["Wolf"] is set in 1916, and tells the story of a playful 11-year-old Bedouin boy of the same name who gets caught up in his tribe's alliance with the British against Ottoman rulers during the era's Arab Revolt.

Earlier this year, Theeb's Abu Nowar and producer Rupert Lloyd won the British Academy of Film and Television Award for outstanding debut by a director or producer. Abu Nowar is also British.

Another Arab entry, this time in the short film category, is Palestine's Ave Maria.

Read more: Bedouin coming-of-age drama, Theeb, vying for Oscar

Directed by Palestinian director Basil Khalil, Ave Maria is listed in the Live-Action Short Films section, and is the first film in Arab cinema to run for an Oscar in this category.

The 14-minute comedy short tells the story of Palestinian nuns living in the middle of the West Bank. Their daily routines are marked by silence and prayer but the peace is disrupted when a family of Israeli settlers breaks down outside their convent at the beginning of the Sabbath.

The family needs to get home but can't operate the phone, while the nuns have taken a vow of silence. 

Watch live Oscar results here.