Beasts of No Nation Wouldn’t Be Ignored By Oscars In 2021, Says Idris Elba

Idris Elba says Beasts of No Nation wouldn’t have been ignored by the Oscars if it came out in 2021. The British actor was the biggest name attached to the film that was written, co-produced, shot, and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, who most recently directed the soon-to-release Bond film No Time To Die. Beasts of No Nation released on Netflix in October, 2015.

Fukunaga’s movie follows a young West African boy named Agu (Abraham Attah) as he is swept up in a civil war and becomes a child soldier under the command of Elba’s Commandant. Beasts of No Nation premiered at the Venice Film Festival to critical acclaim, with its young star winning the Marcello Mastroianni Award recognizing an emerging performer. While the film received attention from multiple awards bodies, including the Independent Spirit Awards, the SAG Awards, and the Golden Globes, it picked up no Oscar nominations.


As part of a THR profile on Fukunaga, Elba argues that Beasts of No Nation would not have been so overlooked by the Academy if it were released today. While he expects the response from audiences would be the same, he believes there were a multitude of factors that led to its zero Oscar nominations back in 2015. In today’s social climate, however, Elba doesn’t think it could be ignored:

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 was being ignored for many reasons. But you wouldn’t be able to ignore it in this climate.

With Beasts of No Nation having released the same year as the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Elba is certainly alluding to the industry’s shifting attitude towards diversity, but these were not the only factors at play. Netflix was just beginning to expand into original films, with Beasts of No Nation among their first releases to attract the kind of critical attention they were looking for. Lacking experience in Academy Award campaigns and facing general suspicion from the movie industry, a film from the streaming service was never going to make a splash at the Oscars, no matter the quality.

While it’s impossible to know exactly how things would play out if Beasts of No Nation released this year, Elba is likely right in his belief that the shift in social climate would make it more difficult to ignore. As it is, Netflix’s audience is bigger than ever, and Fukunaga’s film is an underseen gem that remains in the streamer’s catalog. Perhaps, with No Time To Die about to hit theaters, viewers looking to catch up on the director’s work will end up returning it to the public eye.

Source: THR

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Alexander Harrison (394 Articles Published)

Alex is a Movie/TV News Editor & Writer at Screen Rant. After graduating from Brown University with a B.A. in English, he spent a locked-down year in Scotland completing a Master’s in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh, which he hears is a nice, lively city. He now lives in and works from Milan, Italy.

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