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January 16, 2014 AT 1:36 PM
In the Oscar nominations on Thursday, foreign language nominee "Omar" was described as being from "Palestine," a reference the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has carefully avoided in the past. "Omar," a drama set amid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was directed by Hany Abu-Assad, whose thriller "Paradise Now" was also nominated in the foreign language category in 2005. After hearing the news of his latest nomination, Abu-Assad said Thursday that having the academy refer to his entry as being from Palestine was a step in the right direction.