South African Oscar Winners & Nominees Over The Years

Oscar for South Africa

South Africa’s official submission to the 89th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film category was Noem My Skollie (Call Me Thief) directed by AFDA Alumni Daryne Joshua and his film debut as well.

View the Noem My Skollie Official Trailer.

IFrameThe 89th Academy Awards ceremony took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, on February 26, 2017 and honored the best of the films of 2016.

Throughout the years many South Africans have won or been nominated to an Oscar, proof that this nation has plenty of deep-rooted talent as well as a good eye for the arts.

Proud South African Oscar wins, nominations and submissions throughout the years

1936 (the 9th Academy Awards Ceremony) – Basil Rathbone (South African born British actor) – Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Romeo and Juliet

1938 – Basil Rathbone – Nominated for Best Supporting Actor, If I Were King

1971 – Janet Suzman (University of the Witwatersrand’s Alumni) – Nominated for Best Actress, Nicholas and Alexandra

1985 – Caiphus Semenya (South African composer and musician)Nominated for Best Music, Original Score, The Color Purple

1987 – Jonas Gwangwa (important figure in South African jazz for over 40 years) Nominated for Best Music, Original Score, and Best Music, Original Song, Cry Freedom

Watch the Cry Freedom Official Trailer.

IFrame1989 (the 62nd Academy Awards Ceremony) Mapantsula (Zulu, Afrikaans, Sesotho, English), Director Oliver Schmitz – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film. It appeared on the official AMPAS ( Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ) press release in 1989 but not on the 2007 updated list. Therefore Paljas is considered as South Africa’s official first submission in the Best Foreign Language Film category. It is possible that Mapantsula, although submitted,has not been screened for the Foreign Film committee for some reason.

1997 Paljas (Afrikaans) – Director Katinka Heyns – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film

2003 – Charlize Theron (a Benoni born South African and American actress and film producer ) – WON Best Actress, the first South African to ever win an Oscar, for Monster

Charlize Theron’s 2003 Oscar Win acceptance speech.

IFrameI’m going to thank everybody in South Africa, my home country… And my mom.

2003 – Ronald Harwood (Cape Town-born playwright) – WON for Best Adapted Screenplay, The Pianist Harwood’s love for the theatre and films started when he was a child and his mother took him to the theatre in Cape Town.

2004 Yesterday (the first ever feature-length isiZulu film), Director Darrell Roodt Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film

2005 – Charlize Theron – Nominated for Best Actress, North Country

2005 (78th Academy Awards Ceremony) – Tsotsi – WON Best Foreign Language Film. It was the first non-French-language African film to win in this category

View Tsotsi Official Trailer.

IFrameGavin Hood’s Oscar acceptance speech for Tsotsi, which he directed:

Nkosi sikelele Africa. God bless Africa.

Our stories … are about the human heart and emotion.

2008 Jerusalema (Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Sotho), Director Ralph Ziman – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film

2009 White Wedding (Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, English), Director Jann Turner – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film

2010 District 9, Director Neill Blomkamp (South African–Canadian film director, film producer, screenwriter, and animator) – Nominated for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay (Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell)

2010 Life, Above All (in Northern Sotho), Director Oliver Schmitz – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film, made the January Shortlist. Life, Above All received 10-minutes standing ovations at its world premiere at the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival.

2011 Beauty (Afrikaans), Director Oliver Hermanus – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film

2012 – Herbert Kretzmer (South African-born English journalist and lyric writer) Nominated for Best Music, Original Song for Les Misérables, song “Suddenly” (together with Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg)

2012 Little One (Zulu), Director Darrell Roodt – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film

2013 Four Corners (Afrikaans), Director Ian Gabriel – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film

2014 Elelwani (Venda), Director Ntshavheni wa Luruli – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film

2015 – Margaret Sixel (South African-born, Australian film editor )WON Best Film Editing, Mad Max: Fury Road

2015 – The Two of Us (Zulu), Director Ernest Nkosi – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film

2016 (89th Academy Awards Ceremony) Noem My Skollie (Call Me Thief), (Afrikaans), Director Daryne Joshua – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film.

Noem My Skollie producer, Moshidi Motshegwa, said referring the support the cast and crew received at home :

The greatest affirmation an artist can get is from their own tribe. We are ecstatic to have this affirmation!

The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film was first awarded in 1956. For its 89th edition there have been 85 submissions from all over the world.

Although South Africa hasn’t brought an Oscar home this year what really matters are the passion and dedication of each actor, director, make-up artist, costume designer, editor, of the entire crew backing-up a motion picture which puts South Africa, proudly, on the Academy Awards map once again.

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