Every Oscar-nominated film from Africa for the Best International Feature Film Award Since 1970

Nov 16, 2023

Did you know that out of all the movies from Africa, only ten have danced on the grand Oscar stage for the Best International Feature Film Award since 1970? And guess what? Just three of them snagged the golden trophy.

Want to take a wild guess on which African country has the most nominations? Dive into the list below!


1. The Man Who Sold His Skin (2020) by Kaouther Ben Hania (Tunisia) – Oscar Nominee in 2021

Best International Feature Film Award

Picture this: A Syrian refugee in Lebanon turns his back into a canvas for a famous tattoo artist. As the ink dries, collectors get curious about this masterpiece.


2. Timbuktu (2014) by Abderrahmane Sissako and Kessen Tall (Mauritania) – Oscar Nominee in 2015

Timbuktu 2014 movie - Best International Feature Film Award

Zoom in on Timbuktu, Mali, during its brief occupation by Ansar Dine. The film draws inspiration from the 2012 public stoning of an unmarried couple in Aguelhok.


3. Outside the Law (2010) by Rachid Bouchareb and Olivier Lorelle (Algeria) – Oscar Nominee in 2011

Outside the Law

A sequel to 2006’s Days of Glory, this flick zooms in on three Algerian brothers in France, unfolding against the backdrop of the Algerian independence movement and the Algerian War.


4. Days of Glory (2006) by Rachid Bouchareb and Olivier Lorelle (Algeria) – Oscar Nominee in 2007

Days of Glory movie Oscar nomination

This one dives into the contribution of North African soldiers to the Free French Forces during WWII and tackles the controversial topic of discrimination against them.


5. Tsotsi (2005) by Gavin Hood (South Africa) – Oscar Winner in 2007

Tsotsi Oscar winner - Best International Feature Film Award

In this Oscar-winning film Tsotsi, a young street thug nabs a car, only to discover a baby in the back seat. They spend six days in a violent and agitated situation which leads to an emotional bond towards the end.


6. Yesterday (2004) by Darrell Roodt (South Africa) – Oscar Nominee in 2005

Yesterday (2004) - Best International Feature Film Award

This heart-touching tale follows Yesterday, a young mom battling to live long enough to see her daughter, Beauty, go to school, despite rejection from her husband, who infected her, and society.


7. Dust of Life (1995) by Duyen Anh (novel), Rachid Bouchareb, and Bernard Gesbert (Algeria) – Oscar Nominee in 1996

Dust of Life (1995) movie

Embark on the journey of a Vietnamese boy, Son, attempting to escape a labor camp where he’s been confined.


8. Le Bal (1983) by Jean-Claude Penchenat, Ruggero Maccari, Furio Scarpelli, and Ettore Scola (Algeria) – Oscar Nominee in 1984

Le Bal (1983) movie

A silent film that unravels a fifty-year story of French society through a mesmerizing ballroom in France.


9. Black and White in Color (1976) by Georges Conchon (Ivory Coast) – Oscar Winner in 1976

Black and White in Color (1976) movie Oscar nominee

Set in the African theater of World War I, during the French invasion of the German colony of Kamerun, this film adopts a strong antimilitaristic point of view and is noteworthy for ridiculing the French side even more harshly than their German counterparts.


10. Z (1969) by Costa Gavras (Algeria) – Oscar Winner in 1970

Z (1969) movie

This French political thriller offers a thinly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of the democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. 


As we bask in the glory of the three African films that clinched the prestigious Oscar in the Best International Feature Film category, let’s raise our glasses to their remarkable achievements: “Black and White in Color” (1976) from Ivory Coast, “Z” (1969) from Algeria, and “Tsotsi” (2005) from South Africa. These cinematic gems not only left an indelible mark on the global stage but also paved the way for more African stories to captivate hearts worldwide. Here’s to the hope that future Oscar ceremonies will witness an even greater influx of African narratives, each deserving its moment in the golden spotlight. The journey has just begun, and the reel of African excellence continues to unfold, scene by scene.


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