Weeks ago, Lebanon woke up to the news that Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum had made history as the first Lebanese movie to be nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The social-realist film tells the story of Zain, a child living in conditions of extreme poverty in Lebanon’s slums, who sues his parents for giving birth to him.
Capernaum began its road to the limelight when it was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival earlier in 2018 where it won the Grand Prix. The film had since then received several nominations in major pre-cursor awards including the Critic’s Choice Awards and the Golden Globe Awards, making it a strong contender for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, a year after Ziad Doueiri’s The Insult became the first Lebanese film nominated for the Oscar in the same category.
This morning, however, Alfonso Cuarón’s universally acclaimed Roma — Mexico’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film — expectedly took home the Golden Globe, beating Capernaum (Lebanon), Girl (Belgium), Never Look Away (Germany), and Palme d’Or winner Shoplifters (Japan). Bearing in mind how the Hollywood Foreign Press Association votes for winners, Roma was always poised to win thanks to additional nominations in the Best Screenplay and Best Director categories, the latter of which it won in. Nevertheless, getting recognised remains a great moment for Lebanese cinema in 2018, and one can only hope it is the first of many.
Congrats to Roma!