BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.: When it came to gaining the trust of the subjects featured in her latest Oscar-nominated documentary, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy had an advantage.
“It helps to be an Academy Award winner,” joked Obaid-Chinoy, who won the best documentary Oscar for her 2012 short film “Saving Face” about the suffering of women disfigured by acid attacks in the Middle East.
The Pakistani filmmaker was among the nominated documentarians on hand for a Wednesday event at the motion picture academy honoring this year’s documentary Oscar nominees ahead of Sunday’s ceremony.
Obaid-Chinoy is up for another Academy Award this year for her short documentary “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.” The film, which is about a girl who was shot and thrown in a river by her father after she married a man he did not approve of, is among this year’s documentary nominees affecting change in the world.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed Monday to act against the “despicable” practice known as honor killing after viewing Obaid-Chinoy’s film.
“If you’re cynical about the Oscars, think about that for a second,” she told the crowd at the motion picture academy’s headquarters.
“A Girl in the River” is up against the Ebola clean-up chronicle “Body Team 12,” the Vietnamese artist profile “Chau, Beyond the Lines,” the behind-the-scenes-of-“Shoah” saga “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” and the animated post-traumatic stress disorder narrative “Last Day of Freedom.”
“The Look of Silence” filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer similarly raved that his work about Indonesian genocide prompted the government to recognize the mass killings of communists and ethnic Chinese following the release of his previous film, 2012’s “The Act of Killing.”
“It was this wonderful moment not lost on ordinary Indonesians because it was the first time that the government had even implicitly said what happened was wrong,” said Oppenheimer.
“The Look of Silence,” which serves as a follow-up to “The Act of Killing,” is nominated for the feature documentary prize alongside the Amy Winehouse profile “Amy,” the Mexican drug war expose “Cartel Land,” the Nina Simone biography “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and the revolt chronicle “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.”