My Octopus Teacher, the breakout local documentary that became a surprise global hit, won the Oscar for best documentary at the 93rd Academy Awards this week.
The doccie follows film-maker and diver Craig Foster as he explores an underwater kelp forest near Cape Town, and bonds with an octopus living in the area. You’ve probably seen it on Netflix during lockdown, when the most exploring and bonding you got to do was with your fridge. If you haven’t seen it, we hope you’ve at least watched the hilarious local spoof, gently teasing the earnestness of the original.
The film has won a string of previous awards, and beat out some serious competition to take home the famous golden statue. Audiences across the world were deeply taken with the interspecies friendship at the heart of the film, and the environmental issues it raised. Many fans have sworn off eating the animal.
Directors James Reed and Pippa Ehrlich accepted the award, giving a shout out to South African audiences watching. Previous local winners have done the same in years past. There was Charlize Theron’s best actress win in 2003 and Gavin Hood’s Tsotsi, which won for best foreign film in 2006.
This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates.