Bobbie Wine, Ugandan singer and political figure, expresses his profound gratitude following the nomination of “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” in the Best Documentary Feature Film category for the 2024 Academy Awards. Representing the only African entries alongside Tunisia’s “Four Daughters,” these documentaries emerged as Africa’s contenders across 23 categories at the upcoming Oscars, scheduled for March 10.
Directed by Moses Bwayo and Christopher Sharp, both Ugandan-born filmmakers, “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” delves into the story of Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, popularly known as Bobi Wine, as he courageously challenges Yoweri Museveni’s entrenched 35-year regime during Uganda’s 2021 presidential election. Initially released in 2022, the documentary gained U.S. distribution in 2023 and premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, subsequently being acquired by National Geographic.
Bobi Wine expresses humility and significance in seeing the resilience of the Ugandan people on a global platform like the Academy Awards. He remarks, “Today the fight for democracy in Uganda and around the world lives on. Thank you for this recognition!” Directors Christopher Sharp and Moses Bwayo underscore the documentary’s timeliness, noting that Bobi and his wife Barbie remain under house arrest, making the nomination a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle for democracy.
The filmmakers stress the potential impact of the nomination on Uganda’s future, emphasizing the documentary’s capacity to influence change in a nation grappling with political challenges. The statement highlights the power of cinema to shed light on pressing political issues, as “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” continues to amplify the voices of those fighting for democracy.
Accompanying Uganda’s nomination is Tunisia’s “Four Daughters,” crafted by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania. The documentary unfolds the poignant tale of a Tunisian mother grappling with the mysterious disappearance of her two older daughters. Ben Hania, having previously received an Oscar nod in 2021 for “The Man Who Sold His Skin,” secures her second nomination, contributing to Tunisia’s cinematic legacy.
However, the absence of African films in the Best International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards is notable this year. Despite this, both “Four Daughters” and “The Mother of All Lies,” directed by a Moroccan filmmaker, earned spots on the shortlist for the category, signifying recognition for the diversity and quality of African cinema.
As the spotlight intensifies on African narratives, these Oscar-nominated documentaries serve as powerful vehicles for change, shedding light on the struggles for democracy, social justice, and familial resilience. In a world where stories wield the potential to shape perceptions and catalyze transformation, the inclusion of African voices on the global stage marks a significant step towards a more inclusive cinematic landscape. Come March 10, the Academy Awards will not only celebrate outstanding filmmaking but also stand as a testament to the resilience and power of storytelling in fostering global understanding and change.