When the Oscar nominations were first announced, the first thing I looked for among the list of nominees was Beasts of No Nation, because how could that not be nominated for some kind of Oscar? It had to be recognized in at least one category, but deservedly more than one.
When I realized it had been snubbed, and completely and utterly robbed by the Academy, I was outraged.
From a film lover’s perspective, the cinematography is beautiful, the performances strong, the story gripping…I mean all I wanted to do throughout the entire film was hug all those children. I think even more outstanding than Idris Elba, was Abraham Attah's performance, the kid who played Agu.
From a human perspective, I was so impressed with Netflix for choosing to tell this story. This is an issue that plagues many countries, and we have to stop it. As a global community, we have to protect our children, protect their basic human rights, protect our future.
As I was watching the film, I wondered how they would end it, and I was really pleased with the ending in the school that was trying to reintegrate the children back into a normal life that every child should have the right to enjoy. It was a very real ending that gives us a glimpse into the psychology of what happens to these boys, who are forced to do things they should never have to be able to even imagine. Yet, it's an ending that shows us we can do something to help these boys, and we must do something to help these boys. It's no easy task, but every effort counts.
I hope people who watched this film saw more than a Hollywood movie in this. I hope that people saw their little brothers and sons in those fictional characters, because those fictional characters are also real boys, fighting a war they have no business fighting. When you turn a boy into a child soldier, you’re raping them and robbing them of their innocence and all their basic human rights—particularly their right to live.
I feel like the Oscars not recognizing this film’s excellence is the Academy turning its back on every child. Am I being a bit melodramatic here? Possibly. But I don’t think so. I think a film like this should be greatly and widely celebrated because not only is it a well-executed visual story, it takes on the social responsibility that we as an influential industry have.
If you haven’t seen this film, please awaken your soul as soon as you can. Perhaps the more people that watch this film, the more of us there will be to try to stop and prevent this from happening to more children. I pray for the day.
BIG LOVE & HUGS