While Ivory Coast's 'Night of the Kings' and Tunisia's 'The Man Who Sold His Skin' have been shortlisted for the "Best International Feature Film", here are 9 additional films that made strong contenders for an Oscar.
The Oscars are only a few months away. While Tunisia and Ivory Coast were the only African countries to have been shortlisted for the Oscars in the "Best International Feature Film" category, there are a number of African feature films that are certainly Oscar-worthy and a must-watch. Africa is no stranger to the Oscars party having triumphed in this category three times already, starting with 1970 when the Costa-Gavras Algerian-French co-production, Z dazzled the world. The latest win arrived in 2006 with South Africa's crime drama, Tsotsi.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, the professional organization that awards the Oscars, put forward, at the beginning of this year, an approved list of ninety-three countries that submitted films eligible for consideration in the "Best International Feature Film" category for the forthcoming 93rd Oscars. In order to qualify for the category, the film must be feature-length (more than 40 minutes), produced outside of the United States with a predominantly (more than 50%) non-English dialogue.
This year had African films being some of the strongest Oscars submissions they have ever been. Eleven African countries were initially represented in the Academy's approved list. Algeria had submitted its entry, Heliopolis earlier but it was curiously missing. Sources report that the country voluntarily withdrew its submission but the reason is yet to be made clear. Among the countries, Sudan and Lesotho were first-time participants in the process. Although Tunisia and Ivory Coast ultimately outcompeted the rest, the high quality of submissions this year is a reflection of the filmmaking talent on the continent despite severe structural limitations.
The 93rd annual Academy Awards are scheduled to take place on April 25. In the meanwhile, here is a list of 11 African feature films that were initially submitted to this year's Oscars and made (or still make, in two instances) strong contenders for an award in the "Best International Feature Film" category.