The improbable rise of a hopeless African boy to land a lead role in Beasts of No Nation
Many African kids Abraham Attah’s age have huge dreams that are not met with hope. They see themselves being pilots, presidents, soccer stars and movie stars, but there is not a shimmer of hope that they will achieve those things. Yet they continue daring to dream. And once in awhile, those dreams do come true. For Abraham Attah, it happened at 14 - on a day when he was doing something most distant from chasing a career, or maybe doing exactly what he dreamed of becoming - skipping class to play soccer. He is now scooping awards for his work in Netflix’s Original Feature Film.
Attah has so far won Best Male Lead Actor (Independent Spirit Awards), Rising Star Award (Black Film Critics Circle), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Ghana Movie Awards), Best Breakthrough Performance (National Board of Review) and Best Young Actor (Venice International Film Festival Marcello Mastroianni) awards. It’s a shame that the Oscars committee didn’t recognize Idris Elba and Attah’s stories and performances on the way to snubbing Beasts of No Nation, but fans have shown it a lot of love (five stars on Netflix, 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes).
Beasts of No Nation is available on Netflix.