Ghana’s first-ever Oscar submission ‘Azali’ has failed to make it to the shortlisted films that would be considered for the 2020 Oscars nomination.
‘Azali’ was submitted in the Best International Feature Film category for the 92nd Academy Awards.
Kwabena Gyansah’s story of a teenaged girl’s escape from an arranged marriage to a 70-year-old farmer is Ghana’s first-ever Oscar submission.
Starring Asana Alhassan in her debut role, the film follows the journey of 14-year-old Amina from a village in Northern Ghana to the slums of the bustling capital, Accra.
Amina escapes her impending marriage to a 70-year-old farmer but finds herself on a truck being trafficked to Burkina Faso. A cruel twist of fate sees her rescued from the truck but flung into the bustling city of Accra. Amina has to choose between surviving in Accra and returning to her village and marriage.
Written by Gwandellen Quartey and directed by Kwabena Gyansah, Azali is produced by Ananse Entertainment with support from Motion Revolution, both Ghanaian companies.
It was the first time Ghana submitted a film to the Oscars, although the country has recently become a production hub for international productions, including Beast of No Nation, Forgiving Earth and the upcoming USA network television show Treadstone Starring Jeremy Irvine.
When Azali was selected as Ghana’s 2020 Oscars submission last September, Professor Linus Abraham, chair of Ghana’s Oscar selection committee, said: “Azali is a consciousness-raising film [and] we are very honoured that for the first time, Ghana has found a film worthy enough to represent it at the 92nd Oscars. This has been a long time coming and it is a testament to the growth of the Ghana film industry. We believe this will enhance the image of Ghanaian films and encourage more co-productions and quality filmmaking.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences organisers of the Oscars has announced shortlists in consideration for the 92nd Academy Awards in nine categories: 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.
In the Best International Feature Film category that ‘Azali’ was being considered, only ten films have been shortlisted to move to the next round of voting, which is the nomination round.
Ninety-one films, including ‘Azali’ were eligible in the category. It would be recalled that Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’, failed to make the eligibility cut and therefore was not part of the 91 films that were considered.
In the nominations round, Academy members from all branches are invited to opt-in to participate and must view all 10 shortlisted films in order to cast a ballot.
The shortlisted films are listed in alphabetical order by country below:
Czech Republic, “The Painted Bird”
Estonia, “Truth and Justice”
France, “Les Misérables”
Hungary, “Those Who Remained”
North Macedonia, “Honeyland”
Poland, “Corpus Christi”
South Korea, “Parasite”
Spain, “Pain and Glory”
Azali had a good run… Congrats to all who made ‘Azali’ a success!