Palestine, as represented by the Palestinian Ministry of Culture[1] has submitted films for consideration for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film[nb 1] since 2003. The Palestinians had also attempted to submit a film in 2002.

The Foreign Language Film award is handed out annually by the United States Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue. The award was created for the 1956 Academy Awards, succeeding the non-competitive Honorary Academy Awards which were presented between 1947 and 1955 to the best foreign language films released in the United States.[4]

As of 2021, Palestine has submitted fourteen films to the Foreign Oscar competition and received two Oscar nominations. One for Paradise Now in early 2006, and one for Omar in 2013. Palestine is one of nine Arab countries to participate in the competition over the years.


The Foreign Language Film Award Committee oversees the process and reviews all the submitted films. Following this, they vote via secret ballot to determine the five nominees for the award.[5] Below is a list of the films that have been submitted by Palestine for review by the Academy for the award by year.

All films were primarily in Arabic.

English title Arabic title Director Result
Divine Intervention يد إلهية Elia Suleiman Not nominated
The Olive Harvest موسم زيتون Hanna Elias Not nominated
Paradise Now الجنّة الآن Hany Abu-Assad Nominated
Salt of this Sea ملح هذا البحر Annemarie Jacir Not nominated
When I Saw You[6] لما شفتك Annemarie Jacir Not nominated
Omar[7] عمر Hany Abu-Assad Nominated[8]
Eyes of a Thief[9] عيون الحراميه Najwa Najjar Not nominated
The Wanted 18[10] Paul Cowan, Amer Shomali Not nominated
The Idol[11] يا طير الطاير Hany Abu-Assad Not nominated
Wajib[12] واجب Annemarie Jacir Not nominated
Ghost Hunting[13] إصطياد اشباح Raed Andoni Not nominated
It Must Be Heaven[14] It Must Be Heaven Elia Suleiman Not nominated
Gaza mon amour[15] غزة حبيبتي Tarzan Nasser, Arab Nasser Not nominated
The Stranger[16] الغريب Ameer Fakher Eldin Not nominated

Recognition by AMPAS

Palestine had originally asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences permission to submit Divine Intervention in 2002, but was reportedly advised that the film would not be accepted since Palestine was not internationally recognized as a country, and because the film had not been selected by a national jury as required by official rules.[17] The decision to bar the country on the basis of nationality proved controversial, especially since other entities without international recognition, including Hong Kong, Puerto Rico and Taiwan had long participated in the competition, receiving several Oscar nominations. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences relented a year later, and allowed the film to compete.[18]

Name of the country

When AMPAS announces their "longlist" of eligible foreign films each year, the Palestinian submission is designated as the representative of "Palestine". However, when Paradise Now succeeding in getting an Oscar nomination under this moniker, pro-Israeli groups in the United States objected to the name.[19] After intense lobbying from Jewish groups, the Academy decided to designate Paradise Now as a submission from the Palestinian Authority, a move that was decried by the film's director Hany Abu-Assad.[20] As a compromise, the film was eventually announced as a submission from the Palestinian Territories.[21] Subsequent to this, Salt of this Sea was once again recognized on AMPAS' official website as the representative of Palestine.[22]

In 2014, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named Palestine as the place of origin for Hany Abu-Assad's Omar, rather than the Palestinian territories, the designation used for Hany Abu-Assad's earlier work Paradise Now.[23]

See also


  1. ^ The category was previously named the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but this was changed to the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film in April 2019, after the Academy deemed the word "Foreign" to be outdated.[2][3]


  1. ^ "Foreigners unveil Oscar submissions". Variety. 24 September 2008.
  2. ^ "Academy announces rules for 92nd Oscars". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Academy Announces Rule Changes For 92nd Oscars". Forbes. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  4. ^ "History of the Academy Awards - Page 2". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Rule Thirteen: Special Rules for the Foreign Language Film Award". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  6. ^ Meza, Ed (6 September 2012). "'When I Saw You' to be Palestinian Oscar entry". Variety. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Foreign Language Oscar: Israel Submits 'Bethlehem'; Palestine Goes With 'Omar'". Retrieved 30 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Oscars: Main nominations 2014". BBC News. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Oscars: Palestine Selects 'Eyes of a Thief' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  10. ^ "Palestinian Animation Enters Foreign Language Oscar Race". Animation Magazine. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  11. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (28 September 2016). "Oscars: Palestine Enters Hany Abu-Assad's 'The Idol' In Foreign Language Race". Deadline. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  12. ^ Writman, Alex (30 August 2017). "Oscars: Palestine Selects 'Wajib' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  13. ^ Kozlov, Vladimir (31 August 2018). "Oscars: Palestine Selects 'Ghost Hunting' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  14. ^ Day, Emma (21 August 2019). "Oscars 2020: Filmmaker Elia Suleiman to represent Palestine in Best Foreign Language Film submission". The National. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  15. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (22 October 2020). "'Gaza Mon Amour' to Represent Palestine in Oscars' International Feature Film Race". Variety. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  16. ^ "Palestinian film submitted for an Oscar nomination". WAFA. 21 October 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  17. ^ Leela Jacinto (20 December 2002). "No Room for Palestinian Film at the Oscars". ABC News.
  18. ^ "Palestinian film joins Oscar race". BBC News. 21 October 2003. Retrieved 8 May 2010.
  19. ^ 78th Academy Awards - Nominees and Winners Archived 9 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
  20. ^ Agassi, Tirzah. "Middle East tensions hang over Palestinian nominee for an Oscar", San Francisco Chronicle, 2006-02-26. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
  21. ^ Paradise Now at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 September 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2011.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "Academy drops 'territories' in Palestine reference". The Times of India. 17 January 2013. Archived from the original on 18 January 2014.