Parasite became the first non-English-language feature film to win Best Picture
The Oscars have consistently struggled to recognize films not made in English. Only 10 international feature films have even been nominated for Best Picture, and before Sunday night, none had won.
This year, some Academy members and critics argued that it was actually unfair for international films to be eligible for Best Picture.
“I don’t think foreign films should be nominated with the regular films,” said one of the anonymous Academy members whom the Hollywood Reporter interviews every year.
“Regular films” in this context presumably means English-language films, which is honestly just more xenophobia than we have time to unpack here.
But on Sunday, Parasite from South Korea took home the biggest trophy of the night. Winning not just Best Picture but also Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best International Feature, Parasite broke down one of the biggest barriers in Oscars history.
On a similar train of thought, if Parasite can win ‘megaly’ like this, original African films can also win.
But is Africa prepared?
First no African movie made it to the 2020 Oscars.
The five films that made it to the Best International Feature Film category are: Corpus Christi (Poland), Honeyland (North Maecedonia), Les Miserables (France), Pain and Glory (Spain) and Parasite (South Korea).
Parasite competed in multiple categories and won in four.
Gevevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart (produced for Netflix) was dropped for having too much English Language and too little local language.
Industry experts say Africa has come of age to win big at the Academy Awards. Some pundits even say Lionheart was close to competing in other categories aside Best International Feature Film.
Industry experts also tip Nollywood as the African film industry that may clinch the Oscar not too long. This postulation is based on the recent phenomenal growth in the Nigerian film industry.
With the right investment and the right push Nollywood may shine at the 2021 Oscars.
But collaboration may do the magic. If they put their heads and resources together to do something great, they may win.
Nigerian are known for breaking boundaries. They have proved their mettle as one of the most successful ethnic groups in the U S and the world has embraced Afrobeats…the next mountain to conquer is the Oscars.