We’ve Got to Own Our Oscar

We’ve Got to Own Our Oscar

Thousands continue to praise Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy since the news about Pakistan’s first-ever Oscar, a high point for the country this year, fast spread across television, news and social media. Amid the loud applause and glory for this win, there is a faction of the society, questioning the celebration. There are people who are wondering if Saving Face will ever help the country’s acid victims, oft unreported cases – and whether this Oscar is a real accomplishment at all.



Criticism has been hurled at the government for not truly protecting women against acid attacks, donor community for never speaking to acid victims and the Academy for its notorious voting methods. The award itself has been attacked for being unable to do something for acid victims, the documentary for emphasizing Pakistan’s sad statistics – and above all, acid victims for bringing recognition to Pakistan.



Writer Moni Mohsin tweeted, “I don’t think so Pakistanis would like if Edhi won the Nobel Prize. It will highlight our poverty and violence, and so will be conspiracy against us.”



Clearly, a few of us do not own the Oscar yet. But it is ours now.



The first step to permitting this award to help the cause is to accept the Oscar – and be proud of it. Chinoy has been awarded for content which Pakistanis are yet to see, but we are already aware of the cause and if we are truthfully concerned about whether this will change the lives of acid victims and provide protection, we must be ready to do something on our own  or collaboratively. If we are unhappy and shameful of this award and the documentary’s subject, the problem lies therein ourselves and our social media-savvy hunger for driving conspiracy and popularity towards an alternative view – not with the award or Saving Face. So what does this say about those of us who are unable to accept that Pakistan’s problem is its violation of women’s rights?



There is nothing wrong in celebrating this victory for its eventual trickle-down effect, somewhere and somehow. Pakistan is seldom a recipient of international accolade, so let us feel proud and enjoy this feeling of belonging and association with Hollywood – it’s a joy for most of us despite the debate about western representation. As of yet we don’t know whether national television and radio will pick this documentary and give it a face, but let us not be hasty in judging Chinoy and the award on the basis of subject, content, the lives of acid victims, activists who are already working on the issue without praise, and the government’s inability to do anything good for this country.



In 2009, Marvi Memon was inspired by the case of Maria Shah from Shikarpur who died of an acid attack when Aslam Sanjrani threw acid on her because she rejected his marriage proposal, and a bill was passed. It is too early to find out what benefits Saving Face will bring us and what it could inspire, but the award remains a golden achievement for the country.



The glamour associated with Chinoy’s win is slightly frivolous, annoying and ironic, considering the cause, as fame-hungry divas promoted their designer wear and diamond jewelry that the lady was clad in. Who or what she wore by righteous choice is irrelevant to the award and Saving Face, but since it has been such a highlight, it’s amazing how Chinoy chose to wear something which cost enough (perhaps more) to save the life of an acid victim. This is why, at times, we become laughing stock for the world, and Pakistan acquires the reputation of a poor country with rich people.



Never mind the glamour. Let’s own the Oscar, because it’s just not Chinoy’s, but ours as well.

Anum Pasha

A communications expert and writer based in Lahore

  • anonymous

    Pakistan would have never got an oscar if there were no acid attacks.

  • Taj Ahmad

    Great job by Sharmeen, please bring more Oscar for Pakistan
    in future. Good luck.

  • M Abbas

    There is only solution of this problem that, there is the supremecy of the law and order of the government and that will only happen when PTI will come into power.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=721315352 Yasir Abbas Malik

    “fame-hungry divas promoted their designer wear”…….??Hello….Bunto Kazmi is already famous! God!

    • zahid

      Do you know what ‘divas’ means?? So what if she is famous…who says famous people are not fame-hungry?? crap comment.

      • Kkashan22

        are you on Bunto’s payroll by any chance? haha!

    • Kkashan22

      Seems like you are on Bunto’s payroll hahah!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=721315352 Yasir Abbas Malik

        seems like you want to get on my payroll! if you are worth anything, you would have designed something for SOC! but poor you, you are all but worthless crap!


    “Mun Anum ke Mun Danum”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/WebKumpany-Div/100003248180216 WebKumpany Div

    what oscar oscar?
    do we need oscar?
    we need money to help poor people in country
    we need war less country
    we need education
    we need corruption free society

    if we have these things then oscar will come automatically

  • Tariq

    This is a Short Documentary category. It is co-production of Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid. Its was Daniel Junge Second Oscar Nomination.

  • Omaranis64

    congratulations, atlast something positive and creative in a otherwise dismally bleak horizons of doom and gloom. it certainly give a good projection to creative people of pakistan.

  • Ayazulkarim

    She got Oscar only because she help those people who are trying to prove that Muslims are fanatic people, and her doc will strengthen their case, can sharmeen dare to produce any doc on the atrocities of drone attacks…

  • Sahil

    No disrespect to Sharmeen, but as long as we have corrupt organisations like Depilex Smileagain Foundation, there is little hope for Acid Burn victims. People have short memories, and have forgotten how a Rs 40 crore project was launched by Masarrat Misbah to build a hospital. Major fund raising was done in Pakistan and abroad. We now hv a hospital’s boundary wall in Multan after 6 years, and Pride of Perfromance for Miss Misbah for the work done to build the hospital. Nothing on ground. SECP is carrying out the investigation, where the money went. Masarrat got her accountant arrested saying he took the record (note: not the money). Accountant got acquitted and the files are in cold storage. Badar Alam of Herald and Umar Cheema of The News did stories on the massive corruption.

    Point is as long as people of this country stand up for a jehad against corruption, by rich and charismatic, you have no hope of improving things. The general impression is..if Masarrat is corrupt..so are others…so no big deal. Italy and USA who were going to fund a part of this hospital have withdrawn the aid. But we carry on by watching Masarrat on every TV channel promoting the cause of the victims to raise more funds. If i hire three victims and take them on each program to support me, would the “real deserving victims” benefit?