Idris Elba Claims That The Oscars In 2021 Will Not Overlook ‘Beasts Of No Nation’

And we second that.

Idris Elba claims that if Beasts of No Nation had been released in 2021, it would not have been overlooked by the Academy Awards. Cary Joji Fukunaga, who most recently helmed the upcoming Bond film No Time To Die, wrote, co-produced, shot, and directed the film. In October of 2015, Netflix premiered the film Beasts of No Nation.

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The film follows Agu (Abraham Attah), a young West African kid who becomes a child soldier under the direction of Elba’s Commandant, as he gets swept up in a civil conflict. The film premiered to critical acclaim at the Venice Film Festival, and its young lead was awarded the Marcello Mastroianni Award for developing talent. Despite receiving attention from a number of award organisations, including the Independent Spirit Awards, the SAG Awards, and the Golden Globes, the film did not garner an Oscar nomination.

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Idris Elba claims in a THR feature on Fukunaga that if Beasts of No Nation had been released today, it would not have been neglected by the Academy. While he anticipates a similar reaction from moviegoers, he feels a number of factors contributed to the film’s lack of Academy Award nominations in 2015. However, Elba believes it cannot be overlooked in today’s societal context.

“I think the reception from an audience perspective would be very similar [if it was released today]. But considering the social climate now, Beasts of No Nation would certainly make a real impact in terms of awards and accolades, and not just because of the climate but because of Cary’s great film. A film like ‘Beasts’ at that juncture [in 2015] was being ignored for many reasons. But you wouldn’t be able to ignore it in this climate,” said Elba.

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Idris Elba is undoubtedly referencing the industry’s changed attitude toward diversity, given Beasts of No Nation was released the same year as the #OscarsSoWhite debacle, but these were not the only elements at play.

Netflix was just getting started with original films, and Beasts of No Nation was one of their first to garner the kind of critical acclaim they desired. A film from the streaming service was never going to create a splash at the Oscars, no matter how good it was, because it lacked expertise with Academy Award campaigns and was viewed with distrust by the film industry.

Based on Uzodinma Iweala’s novel, Beasts of No Nation was well-received, with Eric Kohn of IndieWire saying at the time, “Fukunaga, who also serves as the cinematographer, maintains full control of his immersive canvas. The spectacular wide shots and vivid colors of the jungle scenery are constantly at odds with the mounting violence.”

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