African Movies And The 93rd Academy Awards

Last Updated on April 27, 2021

The 93rd Academy Award ceremony was the first Oscar ceremony held since the pandemic. The toll that the covid-19 pandemic has had on the entertainment industry was evident in the sitting arrangement which was starkly different from that of the years prior.

However, the pandemic didn’t stop the ceremony from showcasing some of the best films made within the last year.

Two African films, The Man Who Sold His Skin and My Octopus Teacher were showcased in the event which was held in the early hours of today.

A few weeks ago, we wrote about our thoughts and expectations for the Best International Feature Film category of the Oscar awards.

Five films were nominated in that category of which the Tunisian film, The Man Who Sold his Skin, was one of them. While we stated that it generally ticked many boxes for us when compared to the previous year’s submissions that failed to get nominated, we also stated that it would face some real opposition from the Danish Film, Another Round.

The Man Who Sold His Skin

So, we weren’t really surprised that Another Round took home the award for Best International Feature Film for the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony.

So, you might ask, “Why did Another Round win the Oscars?”. Have you seen the movie? You might find it counter productive that we answered a question with a question. Don’t blame us; blame our nationality.

Another Round red carpet interview

But on a serious note, understanding why Another Round won the Oscars for Best International Feature Film for 2021 starts and ends with spending the time (a little below 2 hours) to see the movie on Hulu.

Where The Man Who Sold His Skin was brilliant, Another Round was a living, breathing masterpiece of a film. Where the former was artistic and edgy, the latter was life-affirming and a little unsteady on its feet.

Another Round, or Druk as it is known in Denmark, is a film about life, friendship and alcohol. The synopsis is based on Norwegian psychiatrist, Finn Skårderud’s theory that humans are born with an alcohol blood level 0.05% too low. Another Round is a test on what it would mean to get drunk and stay drunk consistently every day.

Directed by Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round is the fourth film from Denmark to win the Oscars in this category, while The Man Who Sold His Skin is Tunisia’s first time around. So, Denmark has some experience on what it takes to win that prize. It also helps that Vinterberg is internationally known for the purist filmmaking movement, Dogme 95.

The Man Who Sold His Skin is a good movie but Another Round is better, in our opinion and deserves its win.

My Octopus Teacher

While The Man Who Sold His Skin didn’t win in its category, the other African film, My Octopus Teacher, took home the prize for Best Documentary Feature.

My Octopus Teacher is a South African Documentary by Craig Foster, Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed. We loved My Octopus teacher and are not surprised it won the Oscars. However, we were surprised that it didn’t even make it into the nominee list for the Best Documentary Feature category in the African Movie Academy Awards that held earlier in the year.

My Octopus Teacher was a no-brainer for us here at and if it hadn’t won the Oscars, it can be rest assured that it won in our hearts. My Octopus Teacher was up against the likes of The Mole Agent, Collective, Crip Camp and Time.

My Octopus Teacher tells the story of a human-octopus friendship starring South African film-maker and diver, Craig Foster, as he explores an underwater kelp forest near Cape Town, South Africa, where he meets and forms a friendship with an octopus over her 18-month lifespan.

My Octopus Teacher, which started as a personal video project was 10 years in the making. The film is everything a film should be. It is uplifting, life-changing and it has heart. We say a big congratulations to the producer and directors of this great feature. They deserved their win.

My Octopus Teacher red carpet interview

Prior to the Oscars, My Octopus teacher had already garnered several awards in 2020 including the Critics Choice Documentary Awards for Best Science/Nature Documentary and Best Cinematography, the BAFTA Awards for Best Documentary and the PGA Awards for Best Documentary.

The documentary also won the Grand Teton Award at the Jackson Wild Media Awards where it received 8 nominations and the Best Feature Film Award at the EarthX film festival.

You can see my Octopus Teacher on Netflix.

We hope to see more African projects compete on an international level.

Tell us in the comment section what you think about the just concluded 93rd Academy Awards ceremony and what African filmmakers can do to get better.

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