Sharmeen Obaid wins second Oscar award

Published: February 29, 2016
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy poses with her Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject, "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness on February 28, 2016.  PHOTO: REUTERS

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy poses with her Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject, "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness on February 28, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on Sunday became the first Pakistani to win two Oscar awards.

Sharmeen won in the Best Documentary Short Subject for A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness in the 88th Academy awards. The documentary which sheds light on honour killings in Pakistan follows the story of a teenage girl shot in the face by her own family.

“This is what happens when determined women get together,” she said as she accepted the golden statuette.

Honour killing issue would gain traction if film wins Oscar: Sharmeen Obaid

Chinoy in her speech praised “all the brave men out there, like my father and my husband, who push women to go to school and work and who want a more just society for women.”

The filmmaker also took to Facebook to announce, “‪Pakistan‬, we just won our 2nd Oscar!!”

In 2012, Obaid made history as she won the Academy Award for her documentary Saving Face at the 84th Annual Academy Awards in 2012, Pakistan’s first Oscar.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy mingles with Hollywood bigwigs at Oscar luncheon

After meeting Chinoy recently in Islamabad, Sharif in a statement vowed to “rid Pakistan of this evil by bringing in appropriate legislation.”

She earlier told AFP that a victory at the Oscars would build momentum for change.

“I think if the film were to win an Academy Award, then the issue of honour killing, which doesn’t just affect women in Pakistan but affects women around the world, would really gain traction,” she said.

A Girl in the River tells the story of 19-year-old Saba who was beaten, shot and thrown into the river after she ran off to marry her fiance, whom her family initially accepted — and then decided was too poor.

Survivors of honour killings are rare and the film offers a stark look at the pain — physical and emotional — inflicted on Saba, her extraordinary resilience and ultimate failure to see her father and uncle convicted.

They beat her, shot her in the face and dumped her in a burlap sack in the river.

At the last moment, she tilted her head, meaning the bullet grazed her cheek instead of shattering her skull. Somehow she managed to cling to the bushes and pull herself out of the water. She went to police and to hospital.

Sharmeen Obaid’s ‘A Girl in the River’ to be screened at PM House on Monday

Sharmeen, who read about her ordeal one morning in the newspaper, tracked her down and filmed Saba’s story over eight to nine months in 2014.

In Pakistan, a loophole in the law allows the perpetrators of so-called honour killings to get off scot-free if they are pardoned by their family.

Saba initially seeks a conviction, but eventually relents under the weight of pressure from her brother-in-law and community elders who say it is better to resolve enmity than let it fester. Sharmeen wants to change that.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif hosted a screening of the film in Islamabad last week and has promised to rid Pakistan of the crime by tightening up the legislation.

Many took to Twitter to congratulate the filmmaker:

PM felicitates Sharmeen over Oscar win

Meanwhile, the prime minister congratulated Sharmeen for winning the award.

According to a statement, the prime minister while lauding the efforts of Obaid-Chinoy said “there is no place for killing in the name of honour in Islam.”

The PM said his government was in the process of legislating to stop such brutal and inhumane acts in the name of honour.

“Women like Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy are not only a pride for the Pakistani nation but are also a significant source of contribution towards the march of civilisation in the world,” he added.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • Fareed Chaudhry
    Feb 29, 2016 - 8:47AM

    Oh wow..brilliant…congrats Sharmeen!Recommend

  • lalai
    Feb 29, 2016 - 8:51AM

    Congrats Shermeen . You did it again. Recommend

  • Amused Infidel
    Feb 29, 2016 - 9:01AM

    Congratulations to her, hopefully the government won’t allow these things to happen under their noses anymore.Recommend

  • Thora Bora
    Feb 29, 2016 - 9:04AM

    Sharmeen Obaid and Malala got praised and award to present a negative image of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Feb 29, 2016 - 9:12AM

    Well done Sharmeen . You have made us proud once again.

    You just depict what Pakistanis are made up of , sheer determination and courage,

    You are an inspiration to all of us, by showing and speaking the truth about our society and giving people an ability to think and query these customs and practices.

    What a day for Pakistan, Mumtaz Qadri got what he deserved, Pakistan got what we deserved. Recommend

  • Abbas
    Feb 29, 2016 - 9:13AM

    Keep it up.Recommend

  • Ay Jay
    Feb 29, 2016 - 9:14AM

    Two wonderful things happening to Pakistan the same day… What a magical morning! Pakistan is moving forward, finally. Pakistan Zindabad!Recommend

  • Feb 29, 2016 - 9:21AM

    Mubarak Ho! Congratulations! Ole! Winning two Oscars for highlighting the plight of women subject to a cruel system is indeed an achievement that sparkles more than gold. Hard work work and an intrepid approach does pay off. May God bless you and all your associates. Salams Recommend

  • Maria
    Feb 29, 2016 - 9:31AM

    Congratulations Sharmeen! You’ve made Pakistan proud again.Recommend

  • Rashid
    Feb 29, 2016 - 9:31AM

    Congratulations, keep up the good Work , wee need more people like you.Recommend

  • Nasir
    Feb 29, 2016 - 9:39AM

    Congrats to Sharmeen for winning her second Oscar and making Pakistan proud. I think she is the only sub-continent personality who has won Oscar twice!Recommend

  • Point
    Feb 29, 2016 - 9:53AM

    But Sharmeen will ignore the people of the documentary as always!! A documentary must also be written on how filmmakers uses stories of these people for their own benefit, fame and money.Recommend

  • Anon
    Feb 29, 2016 - 10:05AM

    That’s because they’re brave people who exposed and stood up to the grave injustices that go on in our country on a daily basis. You need to expose a problem first in order to solve it.Recommend

  • Nasir
    Feb 29, 2016 - 10:27AM

    Sharmeen did a wonderful job with the thorny issue of Honor Killing. Sharmeen must be congratulated for her efforts.Well done in highlighting the issue.Recommend

  • DevilHunterX
    Feb 29, 2016 - 10:31AM

    @Thora Bora:
    Maybe you can show a positive side of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Feb 29, 2016 - 10:34AM

    @Thora Bora:
    grow up, Pakistan’s image is already as bad as it could be .it is because of this documentary that the parliament is now considering to amend the lawsRecommend

  • Pakistani
    Feb 29, 2016 - 11:12AM

    Why would any Pakistani want to congratulate her? She battled her way for an Oscar by portraying the darker side of Pakistan. Honor killings are not very common in Pakistan and if they ever happen, there is only a certain sect of people who do this. Even in the very “civilized societies”, incest is common and in some, it’s legal as well, but we never see any country being labeled for such sins and then winning an Oscar. The government should reconsider their policy on such films/documentaries. In my point of view, anything and everything that risk the image of our country and that does more harm than good, it should be banned. If you want to enlighten and educate people regarding such horrendous acts, there are other better ways of doing it.

    Let’s not defame our country for an Oscar.Recommend

  • Feb 29, 2016 - 11:17AM

    She is portraying Pakistan Falsely Recommend

  • wb
    Feb 29, 2016 - 11:21AM

    This is a conspiracy by the world to defame Pakistan through movies.Recommend

  • Faisal
    Feb 29, 2016 - 11:33AM

    For all those whining conspiracy, what conspiracy, its a truth and it takes place in Pakistan normally in tribal areas. Great Job Sharmeen, the only Pakistani in the history wining the Oscar twice.Recommend

  • Not-a-Whiner
    Feb 29, 2016 - 11:40AM

    To all those whining about Pakistan’s negative and “false” portrayal, get over yourselves. Honor killing is a very real problem in Pakistan, no matter how small the number, and she’s doing her part in solving the problem by exposing it on a platform where it’s heard loud and clear. The first step to solving any problem is exposing it. You want Pakistan to be portrayed positively? Here’s a suggestion. Let’s step out of our homes and do our part in removing this injustice from our society!

    P.S.: Stop evoking the problems of other countries in your comments. They’re their problems and of no concern to us.Recommend

  • EmmEss
    Feb 29, 2016 - 12:07PM

    Take a bow SOC !!!! You make us proud !!!Recommend

  • James Elliotte
    Feb 29, 2016 - 12:13PM

    Sharmeen, congratulation! two Oscars on emotive and negative stories from Pakistan. It means still your talent needs further work to be proven beyond a doubt. Pakistan provided you two opportunities (and two stories) now it is time for you to do something for Pakistan also.Recommend

  • Sigar
    Feb 29, 2016 - 12:13PM

    Make another documentary divulging Pakistan’s “ugly” face and get another Oscar. This is what you are best at. Getting the Oscars and winning cheap fame is what you are looking for. Do not try to trick the Pakistanis as if you are very concerned. As if your documentaries would solve the problems faced by our society. Like the previous documentary reduced the acid attacks incidents or improved any situation. If you are really concerned about these evils that persists in our society, you can meticulously do your work at the grass root level instead of revealing your ills to other nations and getting award for that. You heard me: getting rewarded for highlighting bad image of your nation. I wonder if you even consider Pakistan as your nation as someone who does owns it and does not speak ill or shows ill about it. Rather, he/she works to correct that ill instead of “selling” it to others for an award!. You know you are getting the award not because you have done a tremendous job but because you served well to satisfy the western societies that they are indeed superior than other human beings. Would you dare making any documentary on any taboo in the western society (like their deeply rooted racism)? Even if you would, would you get any Oscar for that or would even be shortlisted for final nominations?? So please stop this nonsense rhetoric : “I want my work to make people uncomfortable, to make them think” Rather is should be: “I want my work to make people uncomfortable, to make them think how someone can so shamelessly exchange honor with an award!”Recommend

  • Ana
    Feb 29, 2016 - 12:15PM

    lol how is she brave? she is using a story to build her career.Recommend

  • Feb 29, 2016 - 12:29PM

    @Thora Bora:
    Idiot, first watch the documentary and than comment.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Feb 29, 2016 - 12:31PM

    Now that’s something to be proud of ……… absolutely brilliant.Recommend

  • Feb 29, 2016 - 12:39PM

    now she must make her full fledged transformation from documentary filmmaker to feature filmmaker. she can rope in big Hollywood names with her projects. i heard she has already roped in Meryl streep for her next project. Details are classified.Recommend

  • lol!
    Feb 29, 2016 - 12:49PM

    I can see it now. Sharmeen is the next Malala in making. That is, hounded and driven out of Pakistan by so-called “patriots” for being “anti-Pakistan”. Sad.Recommend

  • Mukesh Haswani
    Feb 29, 2016 - 1:50PM

    What an achievement! :) Hats off to our gorgeous lady Sharmeen Obaid :)Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Feb 29, 2016 - 1:51PM

    its not defaming….its a problem which exists within our society.Also stop using the same user name as someone elseRecommend

  • jay
    Feb 29, 2016 - 2:12PM

    Must be some conspiracy to defame Pakistan. The west is against Pakistani since 7th century ! Recommend

  • Last Man Alive
    Feb 29, 2016 - 3:51PM

    A unique talent worthy of awards

    Nobody else in the world humiliate their country

    like the madame hence she is unique and wins praise from nawaz sharif alsoRecommend

  • Hasan
    Feb 29, 2016 - 5:03PM


  • Hasan
    Feb 29, 2016 - 5:21PM

    Pakistan shines brighter after efforts by Sharmeen & like minded individuals.
    It takes (courage) to give hope to others, where there is darkness.Recommend

  • Rafeek
    Feb 29, 2016 - 6:29PM


  • Korn
    Feb 29, 2016 - 8:43PM

    So ironic. A Pakistani wins an Oscar by showing Pakistan in poor light in front of the world.Recommend

  • Zaheer Ahmed
    Feb 29, 2016 - 9:24PM

    I wonder if she would get another Oscar if she makes a movie on positive image of Pakistan. May be a movie on Edhi or Dr. Adeeb Rizvi. Anyway it was a White Oscar and didn’t carry much weightRecommend

  • doublebarreled
    Feb 29, 2016 - 9:32PM

    the problem with Sharmeen is, she is incredibly arrogant. And lets be honesy you only won the oscar which no one really cares about..Recommend

  • PakRebel
    Feb 29, 2016 - 10:17PM

    This is the biggest problem with our country. In India, one foreigner made a documentary about the Delhi rape victim & the whole country stood together to stop her from tarnishing India’s image but we are happy to have one Pakistani win an Oscar at the expense of shaming the country of 180 million. Some patriots, we are. Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Mar 1, 2016 - 12:20AM

    And just what have you accomplished in your life that allows you to throw rocks at a Pakistani who cares about her country?Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Mar 1, 2016 - 12:22AM

    Note that comment “recommend” button is disabled across ETs paper!Recommend

  • bilal
    Mar 1, 2016 - 1:09AM

    All those saying this is showing the bad side of pakistan and they are giving these awards…. you do know the best picture movie this year was about the bad side of US, the rapes by the priests. Recommend

  • curious2
    Mar 1, 2016 - 1:29AM


    In India, one foreigner made a
    documentary about the Delhi rape
    victim & the whole country stood
    together to stop her from tarnishing
    India’s image

    You don’t get it … India’s reputation was stained by the rape not the documentary. Same goes in Pakistan with acid throwing and honor killings. Quit shooting the messenger.Recommend

  • Azal
    Mar 1, 2016 - 3:11AM

    I can guarantee if she makes a positive movie about Pakistan she would never win an Oscar only stupid people or traitors to Pakistan would celebrate her Recommend

  • Windy
    Mar 1, 2016 - 5:17AM

    @PakRebel: She is not shaming the country but highlighting a social ill in a documentary. If you watched the Oscars, the presenter made a joke about the category saying more or less that this is a worthless category and the film maker will remain poor in this category and drive home in a cheap Honda Civic ! What people in Pakistan need to understand is that the Oscars are very political. They don’t mean necessarily the best film won but the one the academy members chose to vote for. The academy likes to think it is socially relevant and what easier way than to choose some self demeaning Muslim woman who loves to highlight atrocities in Muslim countries. We all know that there are far worse atrocities in India including more acid attacks, more honor killings and of course more rapes.Recommend

  • unbelievable
    Mar 1, 2016 - 5:40AM


    So ironic. A Pakistani wins an Oscar
    by showing Pakistan in poor light in
    front of the world.

    Where’s the irony? It’s a documentary of real life in Pakistan not a make believe Pakistan.Recommend

  • Shah
    Mar 1, 2016 - 11:22AM

    The Irony Is An Indian Like You Coming And Commenting and Judging Pakistan.At Least Pakistan Has The Moral Guts To Accept And Rectify A Social Problem.

    On The Other Hand When BBC Made A Documentary On Sexual Violence In India Your Government Banned It

    How IronicRecommend

  • bahadurkhan
    Mar 2, 2016 - 3:29AM

    finally it is the mohajir community which has given Pakistan the coveted oscar award. twice
    let us not forget same.Recommend

  • Mar 5, 2016 - 4:13PM

    So he once again and same Malala again and again,
    No one is stupid in this world to understanad the story
    why once again given, because she had no problem
    so they also have no problem for giving her OscarRecommend

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