Submissions for the best international feature film award at the 2020 Academy Awards are in.
Aiming for Kenya’s first Oscar nomination with the country’s fourth entry is ‘Subira’ (Patience) by Ravneet Chadha. The film is based on the 2007 award-winning short film of the same name, which tells the story of a young girl who is determined to swim in the ocean despite her strict social environment. The film debuted in Kenya in November 2018, before playing at events including Göteborg Film Festival in 2019. Last year, Kenya submitted the banned Lesbian film ‘Rafiki’ by Wanuri Kahiu.
Nigeria’s Lionheart submission is the country’s first-ever Oscar submission. The country boasts one of the largest film industries in the world, the famed Nollywood. Nollywood star Nnaji made her directorial debut with the film in Toronto 2018. She also stars as Adaeze, a woman in a male-dominated industry who steps up to run her father’s company when he falls sick and must work alongside her incompetent uncle. As reported by The sauce, the film is the first Netflix Original title to come from Nigeria. The choice was made by the 12-person Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee, which was inaugurated in 2014 but unable to find a film meeting the selection criteria until now.
Uganda becomes one of the few remaining countries to make its first Oscar entry, wit the film Kony, Order From Above by Steve T. Ayeny following the establishment of the seven-person Uganda Academy Selection Committee in July 2019. Ayeny’s drama centres Otti and Aguti, two children who form a strong bond during the infamous insurgency of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda, which has been happening since 1987 and is led by Joseph Kony. Ugandan actor Joel Okuyo Atiku takes on the role of the notorious warlord.
This is the first year the award will be given under the new name of ‘best international feature film’, after a change in April from ‘foreign-language film’.
The eligibility rules remain the same: an international feature film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside the US with a predominantly non-English dialogue track and can include animated and documentary features.
Submitted films must have been released theatrically in their respective countries between October 1, 2018, and September 30 2019. Other African submissions come from South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, Ethiopia, Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria.
2019’s award saw 87 submissions and the award going to Alfonso Cuarón’s Mexican family drama ROMA.
The 92nd Academy Awards will take place on February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, US.