Pakistani film 'Zinda Bhaag' out of Oscar race

Published: December 21, 2013
Zinda Bhaag was the first Pakistani nomination for the Oscars in five-decades. PHOTO: FILE

Zinda Bhaag was the first Pakistani nomination for the Oscars in five-decades. PHOTO: FILE

LOS ANGELES: Zinda Bhaag’, the first Pakistani movie to be nominated for an Oscar, was left out of the best foreign language Oscar short list, but nine other movies made the cut, organisers announced on Friday.

Works by Palestinian, Danish and Hong Kong filmmakers were shortlisted for the best foreign language Oscar.

Along with Pakistan’s first entry in five decades, Saudi Arabia’s first ever candidate and an Oscar-winning Iranian director also failed to make the cut.

Films by Belgian, Bosnian, Cambodian, German, Hungarian and Italian directors are also on the shortlist.

The films were whittled down from a long list of 76 movies announced in October by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organizes Hollywood’s biggest annual awards fest.

They will be reduced to five nominees next month, before nominations in all Oscar categories are announced on January 16. The 86th Academy Awards will be held on March 2.

The nine shortlisted foreign language films are:

– “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” Belgium, director Felix van Groeningen.

– “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” Bosnia and Herzegovina, director Danis Tanovic.

– “The Missing Picture,” Cambodia, director Rithy Panh.

– “The Hunt,” Denmark, director Thomas Vinterberg.

–  “Two Lives,” Germany, director Georg Maas.

–  “The Grandmaster,” Hong Kong, director Wong Kar-wai.

–  “The Notebook,” Hungary, director Janos Szasz.

–  “The Great Beauty,” Italy, director Paolo Sorrentino.

– “Omar,” Palestine, director Hany Abu-Assad.

For Pakistan, “Zinda Bhaag” (“Flee Alive”) was the first Oscar entry for over 50 years. It is a comedy-thriller about three young men trying to escape the drudgery of their everyday lives through unconventional means.

The Saudi long-list candidate, “Wadjda” by Haifaa al-Mansour, is an avowedly feminist movie about a young girl’s quest to own a bicycle in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom where women are deprived of many rights, among them driving.

Directed by Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker and shot entirely in the Gulf state, the film won best Arabic feature award at the Dubai Film Festival last year and picked up an award in Cannes in March.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • optimist
    Dec 21, 2013 - 1:38AM

    You did not mention Indian film? What happened to their entry?


  • Muhammad
    Dec 21, 2013 - 3:56AM

    No worries. Better luck next time. Even going in the long list is an achievement for us because this time last year we had no film industry. It has risen from its ashes like a Phoenix this year. It’s a wonderful and exciting time for a Pakistani movie loving audience. Indian film did not get short listed either even though they were hoping to win a moorti this year. So these things happen.

    Jai Pakistan


  • Ms. NA
    Dec 21, 2013 - 9:25AM

    Well done team Zinda Bhaag ! Your film stands on its own with or withuot Oscar. You have done us proud.Recommend

  • Rizwan
    Dec 21, 2013 - 10:16AM

    One of the finest films I have seen this year is Zinda Bhaag. The Oscar will also come sooner or later.


  • A2Z
    Dec 21, 2013 - 4:55PM

    The way Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia’s failure has been previewed in the news shows ET is delighted


  • Zulfiquar Farad
    Dec 22, 2013 - 1:27AM

    @’AZZ unless you have supernatural powers how do you know ET is delighted, why does it have to be someone’s joy when someone is not selected? We should rejoice that Pakistan even had a film to offer we are not the road to be recognized, small step big advances.


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