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Posts tagged "africa at the oscars"

Cape Verdean filmmaker nominated for Academy Award

Already the winner of over ten film festival awards, this multi-award winning animated short film by Cape Verdean-born filmmaker Daniel Sousa has been nominated for in the ‘Best Animated Short Film’ category at this year’s Oscars. 

'Feral' tells the story of a young boy found in the woods as he tries to adapt when he is brought back to ‘civilization’.

The film can be rented and watched in its entirety on Vimeo on Demand.

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #13: Rachel Mwanza on the Red Carpet

[insert fist-pumping gif here]

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #12: The Academy Awards and its love affair with ‘white savior’ films

If a movie features white people rescuing people of color from their plight, odds are high an Oscar will follow

(pictured: ‘Cry, Freedom' & 'District 9’)

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #11: “Searching for Sugar Man”

Nominated in the Best Documentary Film category at this year’s Academy Awards, Searching for Sugar Man is a 2012 Swedish/British documentary directed by Malik Bendjelloul, detailing the efforts of two Cape Town fans, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, to find out if the rumored death of American musician Rodriguez was true, and, if not, to discover what had become of him.

Rodriguez’s music, which never took off in the United States, had become wildly popular in South Africa, but little was known about him there.

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #10: Four films based on actual events that have seen representation at the Academy Awards in recent years, none starring African actors in lead roles (with the exception of Sophie Okonedo in ‘Hotel Rwanda’ who is half Nigerian).

Cry, Freedom (1987)

  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Denzel Washington (nominated)
  • Best Original Score & Best Original Song - George Fenton, Jonas Gwangwa (nominated)

Invictus (2009)

  • Best Actor – Morgan Freeman (nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actor – Matt Damon (nominated)

Hotel Rwanda (2004)

  • Best Actor - Don Cheadle (nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actress - Sophie Okonedo (nominated)
  • Best Original Screenplay - Keir Pearson, Terry George (nominated)

The Last King of Scotland (2006)

  • Best Actor - Forest Whitaker (won)

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #9: TRAILER: ‘Asad’ - The Oscar nominated film featuring an all-Somali refugee cast

Set in a war torn fishing village in Somalia, an all Somali, refugee cast brings to life this coming of age fable of a Somali boy who is faced with falling into the pirate life, or rising above to choose the path of an honest fishing man.

Directed by Bryan Buckley

I haven’t seen this film, was made aware of it through an email sent to me, and whilst it’s great to see an all-Somali refugee cast receive an opportunity like this, and to have it highlighted internationally, I really hope that the film does not seek to completely delegitimize the plight of Somali pirates altogether.

You can read more about Somali pirates here and here.

Here’s what Somali-Canadian artist K’Naan had to say about this issue:

“A lot of people don’t like me for saying this but I’m in support of the pirates,” K’Naan, 31, said in a radio interview earlier this year. “Massive western companies would come to Somalia and dump nuclear toxic waste containers on the shore because there was no government controlling the shorelines. So these pirates initially went into the ocean to make them pay for that sort of thing. So they just take everything for ransom. That actually helped us clear our environment.”


The two brothers who star in this film, Harun and Ali Mohammed, have finally been granted visas to be able to travel to the United States to attend this year’s Academy Awards.

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #8: “Mandela” directed by Angus Gibson and Jo Menell.

The official film biography of Nelson Mandela, this documentary was nominated at the 1997 Academy Awards in the Best Documentary category.

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #7: Rachel Mwanza

With two film roles under her belt and Best Actress awards from the Berlin Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festivaland the Vancouver Film Critics Circle in 2012, as well as a nomination for Best Actress at the 2013 Canadian Screen Awards, the promising young actress from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will soon be on her way to yet another awards ceremony after recently being granted a visa to travel to the United States. The visa comes just in time for the Oscars this weekend where the film in which Mwanza made her debut role, Rebelle, is nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category as a submission from Canada.

Born in the DRC in 1997, Mwanza had a troubled and painful upbringing. Abandoned by her parents at the age of six, she subsequently spent the following years of her life living between her grandmother’s house and life on the streets, her life was significantly transformed after being cast in filmmaker Kim Nguyen’s film Rebelle where she plays the lead role of Komona, a girl kidnapped by a Congolese army at the age of 12. She was cast in the film after Nguyen saw her in a documentary about street children in Kinshasa, the Congolese capital. The filmmakers have also agreed to fund Mwanza’s education until she reaches 18.

Her most recent role is in the Marc-Henri Wajnberg drama Kinshasa Kids.

Hopefully we’ll be seeing more of Mwanza in the future and in more diverse roles.

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #6: Rachid Bouchareb

Born in Paris, France, but of Algerian descent, Rachid Bouchareb is perhaps Africa’s most nominated director in the history of the Academy Awards having had three of his films nominated for the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category.

Having previously worked behind-the-scenes for notable France television stations, Bouchareb began making films in the late 70s and released his first feature film, Bâton Rouge, in 1985.

A little over a decade later, in 1996, Bouchareb received his first Academy Award nomination for his film Poussières de vie (Dust of Life) which was submitted into this category on behalf of Algeria.

Again, another ten years passed before he received his second nomination for the same category with his Cannes Award-winning drama Indigènes (Days of Glory) which can be seen here in full.

His most recent film to receive an Oscar nomination was his 2010 drama
Hors-la-loi (Outside the Law).

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #5: “District 9” directed by Neill Blomkamp (South Africa)

Written by South African filmmaker Blomkamp and Canadian screenwriter Terri Tatchell, this controversial sci-fi action-thriller that draws on actual events that occurred under the segregationist policies of Apartheid - in particular the forced removals of citizens in the District 6 area of Cape Town - was shot on location in Chiawelo, Soweto and features a largely South African cast.

Released in 2009, with the help of co-producer Peter Jackson, the film received largely positive reviews globally and was subsequently nominated for several awards including four Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Film Editing, Visual Effects and Adapted Screenplay.

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #4: “Yesterday” directed by Darrell Roodt (South Africa)

Nominated for “Best Foreign Language Film at the 77th Academy Awards.

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #3: “Days of Glory” (French: ‘Indigènes’,  ‘natives’) directed by Rachid Bouchareb (Algeria)

Through the eyes of four Algerian men who enlist to fight for a country they’ve never set foot in, we see the very nature of the discriminatory and racist ideologies enacted by French colonial forces with World War II providing the backdrop of this transformative period, as well as the complex and varied relationships that existed between France’s African colonies, France as a ‘mother country’ and the Arab-North African cultural identity.

While each has his own motives, these native Africans have enlisted to fight for a France they have never seen. In the words of Le Chant des Africains the four actors sing within the film, “we come from the colonies to save the motherland, we come from afar to die, we are the men of Africa.”

The film shows a complex depiction of their treatment in an army organisation prejudiced in favour of the European French.


The film was nominated for the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film which it didn’t win. However, actors Jamel Debbouze, Samy Naceri, Roschdy Zem, Sami Bouajila and Bernard Blancan won the Prix d’interprétation masculine at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival.

View the full movie above.

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #2: Djimon Hounsou

Beninoise actor and model Djimon Gaston Hounsou has twice been nominated for an Academy Award: in 2004 for his role in ‘In America’, and in 2007 for his role in ‘Blood Diamond’. Both were for ‘Best Supporting Actor’.

For both those roles, he won Black Reel Awards, as well as an Independent Spirit Award for ‘In America’, and a 2007 NAACP Image Award for ‘Blood Diamond’.

His first ever acting award win came in 1998 where he won an NAACP Image Award for ‘Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture’ for his role in ‘Amistad’. Hounsou was also nominated for a Golden Globe for the same role.

AFRICA AT THE OSCARS #1: “Tsotsi” directed by Gavin Hood (South Africa)

An adaptation of the novel by South African playwright and author Athol Fugard, Tsotsi tells the story of a man caught up in the struggles of life in the Gauteng township of Alexandra and the misguided actions that open the window to the changing landscape of the ‘new South Africa’.

In 2005, the film won the Academy Award for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’.

View the full movie above.