AwardsWatch, which tracks and predicts the nominees and winners of the entertainment industry’s biggest awards, the Oscars®, has given South Africa film ‘Inxeba’ an 80% chance of winning the Foreign Language Film race, stating, “The film will be able to stand out from the pack and it also has many elements in its favour: diversity, a world rarely seen, an important and shocking narrative and powerful drama. It represents what voters love: a film that goes deeply local to offer a story of global resonance.” It goes on to say that the film explores both psychological and physical wounds with great artistry and sensitivity.
A record 92 films are vying for the Oscars® foreign language film nominations. The Academy Awards® season screenings in Los Angeles are currently underway with ‘Inxeba’ (The Wound) screening at the Landmark Theatre in Pico Boulevard, the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, Soho House in West Hollywood, and Soho House in New York, among others. Official screenings of the film for the 75th Golden Globe Awards also take place between now and early December.
In an interview with entertainment news blog Deadline Hollywood, director John Trengove explained that the film is about a rite of passage into manhood through a specific and meaningful cultural practice. “When we first started speaking about the possibility of making a queer South African film, people like Robert Mugabe were saying that homosexuality is un-African and threatens traditional culture. That’s why it was important for us to bring these two strands together in the film. It’s more than a queer love story; it also investigates issues of hypermasculinity.”
In the same interview, Niza Jay, who plays the role of Kwanda, an initiate who challenges the notion of tradition, said the film will have a long lifespan given all the issues it speaks to, particularly those of masculinity and manhood which are close to his heart. “I knew I had to be involved from the moment I auditioned for the role,” he said.
The film’s journey to the Oscars® began with a hugely successful world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, and was followed by its European premiere as the opening film on the Panorama programme at the 67th Berlinale in Germany.
“Like South Africa’s 2006 Oscar® winner ‘Tsotsi’, ‘Inxeba’ has picked up a string of awards,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution, which is distributing the film in South Africa. “Most notably, the majority have been best film and audience awards, as was the case with ‘Tsotsi’. A key nod was Best First Feature Award at the BFI London Film Festival. These industry awards have become Oscar® precursors, with many going on to win at the Oscars® too. The global response to the film has been very exciting and bodes well for the upcoming awards season.”
Variety also mentioned ‘Inxeba’ (The Wound) in a recent article focused on awards season contenders stating, “It’s among the strongest of multiple LGBT-themed foreign-language submissions this year: its intersectional view of racial and sexual identity, combined with its masculinity-in-crisis drama, make it one to watch for a nomination.”
The 92 films competing for the Oscar® will be cut to a shortlist of nine before Christmas, with announcement of the 5 nominations following in late January 2018.
In South Africa, viewers will be able participate by voting for or against the film at People’s Choice screenings hosted by TimesLive in Johannesburg and Cape Town in early December. These screenings will coincide with screenings to AMPAS® members in Hollywood. The official Golden Globe Fraternity screening will coincide with a showing of ‘Inxeba’ hosted by The Other Foundation at the Kopano Regional Conference, Freedom Park in Pretoria on 26 November. A second showing will take place in Durban at the KwaMashu Community Advancement Project on 6 December.
‘Inxeba’ (The Wound) is releasing in cinemas in South Africa on 2 February 2018, shortly after the official five nominations for Best Foreign Language Film 2018 are announced by the Academy® in Los Angeles.