South Africa: “The Wisdom of the Octopus” shortlisted for the Oscars in Los Angeles

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South Africa will be represented at the 93rd Academy Awards, this Sunday, April 25, in Los Angeles. The film “The Wisdom of the Octopus” [My Octopus teacher en VO] is competing for the Oscar for best documentary, after having already won twenty trophies including the Bafta, in the same category in London on April 11.

With our correspondent in Johannesburg, Romain Song

The film tells the story of the relationship that developed between a snorkel diver and an octopus in Cape Bay. It is available on Netflix which produces, here, its first original documentary in South Africa. Since its release in September 2020, this documentary has enjoyed growing success. This is the culmination of a shoot started in 2015.

All treasures do not take the same shape at the bottom of the ocean. For Craig Foster, a freediver, prone to depression after a burnout, it is an octopus who changed his life.

Without a budget or any particular ambition, Craig Foster spent a year underwater documenting the behavior of his friend the octopus. He then called on the camera of Roger Horrocks, specialist in underwater filming, and the director Pippa Ehrlich who recounts the genesis of the project.

Craig had filmed, all by himself, with a small handheld camera for a long time, but from a moment he witnessed things he could hardly believe. It made him very enthusiastic. He called Roger Horrocks and said, you gotta come see what this octopus can do. She lets me watch her hunt and do a lot of other stuff.

Three thousand hours of footage and six years later, the film could well win the Oscar for best documentary, after a first harvest of awards. It took the arms of an octopus to receive so many trophies.

Another African film in competition at the Oscars ceremony, The man who sold his skin, by the Tunisian Kaouther Ben Hania. It competes in the “Foreign films” category.

Oscar ceremony: nominees meet at Union Station

with our correspondent in Los Angeles, Loïc Pialat

Steven Soderbergh is one of Hollywood’s most inventive directors and he promised a ceremony that would be more like the movie than the TV show. While no one knows exactly what that means, we expect a breath of fresh air to blow over an Oscars ceremony whose audiences keep dropping.

The 200 or so guests, 15 times fewer than usual, meet at Union Station, Los Angeles’ superb train station, for example, rather than in the traditional Dolby Theater. To avoid the issues that have marred other awards shows this year, the Oscars have favored an in-person presence rather than video conferencing in pajamas from his living room. Those who were unable to make it to the United States will go through a satellite link. The nominees, all tested three times, will not need to wear a mask on the air, but will have to put it on during the many pages of advertising.

One thing has not changed, however: the duration of the ceremony, about three hours …

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South Africa: “The Wisdom of the Octopus” shortlisted for the Oscars in Los Angeles