Inxeba (The Wound) and Felicite have fallen out of the Oscar race after both losing out on scoring a nomination. Inxeba (South Africa) and Felicite (Senegal) were shortlisted for the Best Foreign Language achievement in this year’s Academy Awards.
There were only five spots for nominations in the category and the Academy’s committee initially narrowed 92 submissions down to nine. The two lesser-known films compared to their well-known competitors were not widely predicted to have potential of making the cut. The African movies were shortlisted alongside Loveless (Russia), In the Fade (Germany), On Body and Soul (Hungary), The Insult (Lebanon), A Fantastic Woman (Chile), and The Square (Sweden).
Inxeba tells the story of a gay factory worker who travels from the city to his parental home in the rural area to be circumcised and initiated into manhood through the Xhosa tradition. Despite the overwhelmingly positive response to the film globally, the filmmakers have faced much controversy in its local home country with some Xhosa natives not supporting the movie’s exposure of its sacred initiation tradition nor its association to homosexuality.
Felicite was Senegal’s first ever submission for the Academy awards while Inxeba was South Africa’s first film to make the shortlist in 8 years. Had Inxeba made it, it would have been the first time in 12 years that a South African film was nominated. The South African feature has been racking up international awards and was believed to have what it takes to scoop the golden statue. It has won 19 awards so far and is officially South Africa’s most awarded film of all time, edging out Tsotsi’s 17 wins.
However, despite the two films let down, a Cape Town based film, Revolting Rhymes, has made the final cut to the Best Animated Short Film category, restoring hope in African fans by presenting a chance to bring at least one Oscar back to the continent.
The Academy Awards will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on March 4, 2018.