Africa remains forgotten at the Hollywood Oscars | International – Germany, Europe, Africa | DW

In 2006, the South African film “Tsotsi” was an exception: it won the Oscar for best foreign film. As a general rule, the statuette, awarded since 1948, goes to a European country. In nearly 75 years, only three African countries have won in this category. Asian and Latin American films, as well as African films, hardly take part in the event.

Among the three winning African films, “Z” and “Black and White in Color” are French co-productions, which have benefited from the strong influence of French cinema in Hollywood. “Totsi” was the first non-French-speaking film to win an Oscar.

Steve Ayorinde, a famous Nigerian film critic who has participated as a jury in international film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin and Toronto, recalls that “we must not forget that out of a dozen internationally renowned South African films , five or six are from white South Africans”. This is also the case of “Tsotsi”, whose director is Gavin Hood.

The cinema expert believes that the lobby is a very relevant factor. “African films are always on the sidelines of major film festivals. So who can promote them? Without the cooperation, support and investment of a major European or American institution or production company, it is difficult to market a film of this type internationally. “, remember.

American or European filmmakers have it easier. It is therefore not surprising that 78% of the films awarded in the category “Best foreign language film” are European. France and Italy represent more than half of the statuettes and are also very influential in Hollywood, while the other continents go unnoticed.

The “Best Foreign Language Film” statuette has only been awarded three times to Africa

Bollywood also struggles in Hollywood

Half of the award-winning films in Asia are Japanese productions. Bollywood and his great industry never won a single statuette.

Namrata Joshi, an author and film critic who has served on juries at international film festivals such as Toronto, Moscow and Cluj, believes that “Indian filmmakers lack the financial means to market their films. The Oscars are a marketing ploy”.

Additionally, Joshi believes that the content of Indian films is often a problem for such a global audience, due to the amount of music, dance and melodrama. Steve Ayorinde says several factors are holding back Oscar nominations for African films.

It is difficult without funding from Western institutions or technical and international cooperation, but language also plays a decisive role. “The advantage of European films is that languages ​​like German, French, Spanish or Italian are international. So the people in charge of evaluating the films already know the language”, explains the critic Nigerian.

In Nigeria, for example, about 2,500 films are produced per year, which have never been successful at the Oscars. THE netflix improved the quality of films, but it does not increase their chances of being nominated for an Oscar, as a condition of Hollywood is that nominated films must be shown in theaters.

Equal opportunities?

Joshi and Ayorinde believe that the Hollywood Academy has been trying for a few years to take a step towards diversity, but it’s something that can’t happen overnight.

Namrata Joshi says that “it takes a certain curiosity [por parte do júri] and a desire to understand films from around the world. He also considers that the participation of people from India on the jury of the Academy would be an important first step.

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