THE BLOG
13/02/2018 04:56 SAST | Updated 13/02/2018 09:56 SAST

An Oscar History South Africans Can Be Proud Of

This list of South African Oscar winners and nominees over the years is pretty darn extensive...

Mike Hutchings/ Reuters
Former South African President Nelson Mandela (2nd L) poses with actor Presley Chweneyagae (L), actress Terry Pheto (R) and the director Gavin Hood of the Oscar-winning film "Tsotsi".

South Africans should take special note on the night of the 90th Academy Awards, as some of this country's finest are in the running for the Best Animated Short Film category with "Revolting Rhymes", directed by Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer.

"Revolting Rhymes" Trailer:

The film is an adaptation of Roald Dahl's and Quentin Blake's classic fairy-tale book of the same name. It was produced by Magic Light Pictures and animated by Magic Light's Berlin studio along with Cape Town-based Triggerfish Animation.

The awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California, on March 4. Having already won the British Academy Children's Award for Best Animation, "Revolting Rhymes" will be among the favourites in its category.

This is not the first time South Africa has had representation at the Academy Awards. Over the years, many South Africans have graced the Oscars red carpet, both as nominees and winners, proof of our deep-rooted talent.


Here are South Africa's Oscar wins, nominations and submissions throughout the years:

1937 (the 9th Academy Awards) – 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".

1966 - Ted Moore (South African born cinematographer) - WON the first South African Oscar for A Man For All Seasons.

1972 – Janet Suzman (University of the Witwatersrand alumnus) - Nominated for Best Actress, "Nicholas and Alexandra".

1986 – Caiphus Semenya (South African composer and musician) - Nominated for Best Music, Original Score, "The Color Purple".

1988 – Jonas Gwangwa (an important figure in South African jazz for over 40 years) - Nominated for Best Music, Original Score, and Best Music, Original Song,"Cry Freedom".

"Cry Freedom"Official Trailer:

1990 (the 62nd Academy Awards) – "Mapantsula"(isiZulu, Afrikaans, seSotho, English), directed by 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 South Africa's first official 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) - directed by Katinka Heyns - Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film.

2003 – Charlize Theron (Benoni-born South African actress and film producer)WON Best Actress for "Monster".

Charlize Theron's 2003 Oscar acceptance speech:

I'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 feature-length isiZulu film ever) – directed by Darrell Roodt - Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

2005 – Charlize Theron - Nominated for Best Actress, "North Country".

2005 (78th Academy Awards)"Tsotsi" - WON Best Foreign Language Film. It was the first African film not made in French to win in this category.

"Tsotsi" Official Trailer:

Gavin Hood's Oscar acceptance speech for "Tsotsi", which he directed:

Nkosi sikeleli Africa. God bless Africa.

Our stories... are about the human heart and emotion.

2009 – "Jerusalema" (Afrikaans, English, isiZulu, seSotho) – directed by Ralph Ziman – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film.

2010 – "White Wedding" (isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, English) – directed by Jann Turner – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film.

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

"District 9", Official Trailer

2011 "Life, Above All" (Northern Sotho) – directed by Oliver Schmitz - Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film; made the January Shortlist. "Life, Above All" received a 10-minute standing ovation at its world premiere at the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival.

"Life, Above All", Official Trailer:

2012 Beauty (Afrikaans) – directed Oliver Hermanus - Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film.

"Beauty", Official Trailer:

2013 – 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).

2013 – "Little One" (isiZulu) – directed by Darrell Roodt - Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film.

"Little One", Official Trailer:

2014 – "Four Corners "(Afrikaans) – directed by Ian Gabriel - Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film.

"Four Corners", Official Trailer:

2015 – "Elelwani" (tshiVenda) – directed by Ntshavheni wa Luruli – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film.

2016 – Margaret Sixel (South African-born, Australian film editor)WON Best Film Editing, "Mad Max: Fury Road".

2016– "The Two of Us" (isiZulu) – directed by Ernest Nkosi – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film.

2017 (89th Academy Awards) – "Noem My Skollie (Call Me Thief)", (Afrikaans) – directed by Daryne Joshua – Submitted for Best Foreign Language Film.

"Noem My Skollie" Official Trailer:

* A previous version of this article said Charlize Theron was the first South African to ever win an Oscar, this has since been corrected.