And the Oscar goes to . . .
For many, Sunday night’s Academy Awards were an introduction to SHARMEEN OBAID CHINOY. But the Stanford News Service has had the Pakistani-born documentary filmmaker in its sights for nearly a decade. Back in 2003, LISA TREI, then social sciences writer for the News Service, featured Obaid and her first film Terror’s Children. That documentary, which chronicled young Afghan refugees in Pakistan, was on the cusp of being released. After hundreds of rejections to her appeals for funding, Obaid, then a 24-year-old graduate student in international policy studies and communication at Stanford, had succeeded in making the film she wanted to make.
Terror’s Children “really gave me more of a drive to make other films out of Pakistan,” she told Trei, who now is an associate communications director in the Office of the Dean of Humanities and Sciences. “It gave me a sense that things are wrong in my country and people should know about it from our perspective,” Obaid said.
Since then, Obaid Chinoy has made more than a dozen films and won numerous prizes, including an Emmy. And on Sunday night, she walked away with an Oscar for Best Documentary for her film Saving Face. The film tells the stories of two women who are survivors of acid attacks in Pakistan and their efforts to bring their assailants to justice, and the charitable work of a plastic surgeon who strives to help them rebuild their lives.
“The Oscar is the award, not just another award,” she said during an interview on the Today program in the days leading up to the Academy Award ceremony. Saving Face will air on HBO March 8.
Obaid Chinoy is not the only person with Stanford ties to snag a golden statue on Sunday. ALEXANDER PAYNE, won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Descendants. Payne, who earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford, where he majored in Spanish and history, has won numerous awards for his directing and screenwriting, including Oscar and Golden Globe awards for Sideways.
The Dish makes no predictions about the success of Game Change, a film adaptation of the book by the same name about the 2008 United States presidential contest. JAY ROACH, who graduated with a BA in economics from Stanford, has directed such movies as Austin Powers, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers and Dinner with Schmucks. Roach will be back on campus today for a pre-screening and informal discussion of Game Change. The event is sold out.