2021’s Oscar Shortlist has been released, with nine different categories including; “Documentary Feature”, “Documentary Short Subject”, “International Feature Film”, “Makeup and Hairstyling”; “Music (Original Score)”, “Music (Original Song)”, “Animated Short Film”, “Live Action Short Film” and “Visual Effects”. And as such, two African films, Night of the Kings from the Ivory Coast and The Man Who Sold His Skin from Tunisia; have secured spots on the shortlist under the “International Feature Film” category.
Official voting for the Oscars nominations are reportedly set to take place next month; from March 5th-10th with the nominees announced by the Academy on the 15th.
Ivory Coast’s Night of the Kings, directed by Philippe Lacôte, tells the story of a young Ivorian man; who arrives at the notorious La Maca prison and is tasked with telling a story that may very well prove; the difference between life and death. The bold feature film centres on “telling tales to a captive audience” as The New York Timesaptly puts it.
For Tunisia, The Man Who Sold His Skin tells the story of Sam, a Syrian refugee; who allows an art guru to use his back as a canvas and subsequently finds travelling through Europe as an artwork much easier than as a refugee.
However, he soon discovers that what he had initially imagined as freedom, is quite the opposite. Variety has pegged the film as a strong contender at this year’s Oscars and describes the director Kaouther Ben Hania’s inspiration as having been the; “Belgian artist Wim Delvoye who tattooed and signed the back of a man called Tim,” adding that; “The piece was sold to a German art collector and Tim is contractually obliged to spend a certain amount of time, topless and sitting still, in a gallery every year.”