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Syrian documentary subjects to attend Oscars after all

Image: Netflix

With the Oscars now only a week away, the usual announcements of who will be presenting have begun to roll out, as well as news on who will actually be on hand to accept their awards on Hollywood’s biggest night. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the attendees now include the subjects of the Syrian documentary, White Helmets. The eponymous rescue group has saved nearly 75,000 lives in Syria, and has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Netflix’s short film is now up for a Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar, and THR reports that White Helmets leader Raed Saleh and his fellow member Khaled Khateeb—who would have been barred from entry thanks to Trump’s now-in-limbo Muslim ban—do plan to attend the Oscars on February 26.

In a statement, Saleh said “We are eagerly looking forward to coming to the Oscars. It will give us an important platform for the voices of Syrian children and women trapped under the rubble as a result of the airstrikes and artillery shelling, and for the voices of thousands of displaced Syrians who have been forced from their homes.” Khateeb added:

It is so important that people see the film. It is important that people understand that Syria has people who want the same things they want: peace, jobs, family and to live without the fear of bomb. If we win this award, it will show people across Syria that people around the world support them. It will give courage to every volunteer who wakes up every morning to run towards bombs.


Director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara tell THR that Saleh and Khateeb haven’t actually been admitted into the country yet, and that they’re waiting on their arrival “with a tense anticipation.”

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