Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: First Pakistani Woman to Win Two Oscars

You may or may not remember the name, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. She is a Pakistani journalist and filmmaker and probably more notably the first Pakistani to win to Oscars. Of course, being an American Pakistani, I am very happy that Chinoy won her second Oscar last night. What is remarkable about this is that Obaid-Chinoy is from a country, where in the rural areas, education is not encouraged for women to partake in.


Obaid-Chinoy won her first Oscar back in 2012 for Saving Face. This was the first film of hers that was recognized by the Oscars, and she won. Obaid-Chinoy is not only a minority from a group of misunderstood people. What do you think of when you think of the term, “Pakistani?”  What do you think when you think of women in the Pakistani context and culture? Sure, there are some grotesque thoughts that flood your mind, but Pakistani culture can be very beautiful, and Chinoy is determined to expose the negative aspects that reside in a remarkable culture like that of Pakistan and other misunderstood culture, contexts, and countries.


Obaid-Chinoy perhaps had the “most powerful” speech last night, as some sources even say. Her speech was definitely relatable and applicable to the lives of women, not only in her context. A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgivness, the story of Saba, a woman who survived an honor killing, is about a Pakistani woman. Saving Face was about the female victims that were burned badly by acid in Pakistan. These movies, however, do not only apply to Pakistani women, but women worldwide. The powerful speech connected these factors and closed with very resonating, powerful words, when she said the following, “This is what happens when determined women get together.”


Obaid-Chinoy now holds her two Oscars, one for Saving Face, which she won back in 2012 and one for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, which she won in 2016. The film, as Obaid-Chinoy said, has made Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif makes new rulings on honors killings. She said “this is the power of film.”

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