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Two actors of Arab descent nominated for 2021 Golden Globes

Comedian Youssef is up for an award for second year running, while Rahim is being recognised for his portrayal of Guantanamo detainee
Egyptian-American Ramy Youssef and French-Algerian Tahar Rahim were nominated for the 2021 edition of the Golden Globes (AFP)

Egyptian-American actor Ramy Youssef and French-Algerian actor Tahar Rahim will be up for awards at the 78th Golden Globes, after nominations were announced on Wednesday.

For the second year in a row, Youssef earned a nomination for best actor in a television comedy or musical, for his lead role in Ramy. The series, which Youssef also produced and wrote, gives a fictionalised glimpse into his life as a second-generation immigrant and Muslim in a politically divided New Jersey. 

The trouble with Ramy: How the award-winning TV show has failed Arab Americans
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He won the award last year, opening his speech by stating: “I would like to thank my God. Allahu akbar. Thank you, God.”

The series has received mixed reviews from within the Muslim and Arab communities, with Middle East Eye film critic Joseph Fahim arguing that Ramy “failed Arab Americans”. 

Meanwhile, Rahim was nominated for best actor in a motion picture (drama) for his lead role in The Mauritanian, based on the story of Mohamedou Ould Salahi who was held in Guantanamo Bay for 14 years without being charged. 

Rahim plays Salahi, a Mauritanian national who was sent to Gitmo in 2002, and has since been described as “the most tortured man in the history of Guantanamo Bay”. 

He detailed torture methods - including forced sleep deprivation techniques, shackling in stress positions, long bouts of excruciatingly loud heavy metal music and sexual threats against his mother - in his 2015 memoir The Guantanamo Bay Diaries. 

The memoir went on to become an international bestseller and formed the basis for The Mauritanian
Despite being freed in 2016, Salahi told MEE that he was still being punished by having his passport taken away, accusing the United States of not wanting him to travel around the world and recount his experiences of detainment.

The upcoming film portraying his ordeal has received critical acclaim, and alongside Rahim, co-star Jodie Foster was nominated for the best-supporting actress Golden Globe for her role as Nancy Hollander, Salahi’s lawyer. 

Elsewhere, Israeli actress Shira Haas was recognised in the best actress in a limited TV series category for her starring role in Unorthodox. The four-part drama tells the story of a 19-year-old woman in an unhappy arranged marriage within an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in New York.

The Golden Globes will take place on 28 January in Beverly Hills, California, two months later than usual, due to the pandemic. 

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