This Sunday, the 84th Academy Awards take place in Los Angeles: an annual gathering of the brightest and glitziest movie stars, the Oscars celebrate the best achievements in cinema today. Past and present Oscar nominees have significant ties to Africa—here are a few of them, and if you have more suggestions, leave them in the comments!
George Clooney: Nominated as best actor in the movie The Descendants, Clooney is famous for bringing worldwide attention to the Darfur genocide in Sudan.Along with co-stars from the movie Ocean’s Eleven. Clooney founded Not On Our Watch, a group devoted to shedding a spotlight on underreported violence in Sudan.
Brad Pitt: Also nominated for a best actor Oscar this year in the movie Moneyball, Pitt is well-known for his charitable works around the globe, including work in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans to build houses after Hurricane Katrina. In Africa, Pitt has worked with the group Make Poverty History to bring awareness to famine-related issues. Together with his partner, Angelina Jolie, the couple has created the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which donates to various organizations, including Doctors Without Borders, to help ailing countries and fight the spread of various diseases. Jolie herself is known for her work in Africa and Southeast Asia as a celebrity ambassador with the United Nations.
Steven Spielberg: the three-time Oscar winner has made several movies based on African issues—including a film made when he was 13 years old, called Escape to Nowhere. His most famous Africa-related work was the 1997 film Amistad, about an African slave rebellion. Spielberg is nominated in this year’s Oscars for his work in the movie War Horse.