Good news prevails just as the festive season kicks in with four African films having made it to the Oscars shortlist in various categories including: Morocco’s with The Mother of All Lies Movie and Tunisia with Four Daughters Movie; Uganda’s “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” and After.
Four Daughters and The Mother of All Lies, from Tunisia and Morocco, respectively were both shortlisted to advance to the second round of voting for Best International Feature Film category at the 2024. The Oscars committee announced shortlists in 10 categories for the 96th Academy Awards. In total 12 films were submitted from Africa, including Nigeria’s Mami Wata which created substantial buzz both in Nigeria and globally.
Tunisia and Morocco’s entries are the only African films shortlisted in this category, with Bobi Wine: The People’s President being shortlisted in the Documentary Feature Film Category. Directed by Christopher Sharp and Moses Bwayo, and produced by Sharp and John Battsek, it follows Bobi Wine’s rise to popularity in his attempt to gain momentum politically. The film was acquired by National Geographic following its 2022 premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Four Daughters, a docuseries directed by Kaouther Ben Hania, was also shortlisted in the same category.
Nigerian-born Misan Harriman’s directorial debut, The After, shortlisted in the Live Action Short Film category.
Ghana’s Blitz also makes an appearance, professionally as Blitz the Ambassador, his original soundtracks: “Keep It Movin’” from “The Color Purple” “Superpower (I)” from “The Color Purple” were also shortlisted as part of the Best Original Song Category.
The movie musical, hitting theaters on December 25, offers audiences a fresh perspective on the timeless narrative of sisterhood. Directed by Blitz Bazawule and produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Scott Sanders, and Quincy Jones, “The Color Purple” is a bold reinterpretation of the beloved classic. The screenplay is by Marcus Gardley, based on the novel by Alice Walker, with the musical stage play book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray. Executive producers include Alice Walker, Rebecca Walker, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Carla Gardini, Mara Jacobs, Adam Fell, Courtenay Valenti, Sheila Walcott, and Michael Beugg.
Four Daughters (Tunisia)
Dir. Kaouther Ben Hania
This documentary/drama hybrid debuted in Cannes Competition in May, where it won the Golden Eye best documentary prize alongside The Mother Of All Lies – which has likewise made the Oscar shortlist (see below) – before touring festivals including Sarajevo, Brussels, Munich and Toronto. The feature reconstructs the story of Tunisia’s Olfa Hamrouni and her daughters through interviews and re-enactments, to examine how the two eldest children were radicalised and disappeared. Two of the daughters are portayed by professional actresses, opposite Egyptian-Tunisian star Hend Sabri as Olfa. It marks a return to the international feature Oscars race for Ben Hania, whose The Man Who Sold His Skin delivered Tunisia’s first-ever Oscar nomination in 2021.
The Mother Of All Lies (Morocco)
Dir. Asmae El Moudir
This documentary reflects on the bread riots that shook the working-class Casablanca neighbourhood of director El Moudir in 1981, through the use of a workshop in which participants recall their experiences. The film premiered in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, where it won the directing prize for the section and shared the Golden Eye documentary prize with Four Daughters (see above). The Mother Of All Lies marks the second feature by El Moudir after 2020’s The Postcard. Morocco has yet to secure a nomination but made the shortlist in 2012 with Roschdy Zem’s Omar Killed Me and last year with Maryam Touzani’s The Blue Caftan.
Voting begins on Thursday, January 11 2024 concluding on Tuesday, January 16 2024. Nominations for the 96th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2024.
The 96th Oscars will be held on March 10, 2024, at the Dolby® Theatre at Ovation Hollywood and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide.
The full list of nominations available here.
By Azadi Ash