Why Abraham Attah is an Oscar Front Runner

The story of Beasts Of No Nation isn’t exclusively Idris Elba’s portrayal of the charismatic commandant, it’s the performance of first time actor Abraham Attah. Attah is Agu, a village boy whose family is murdered and he becomes a child soldier, and Attah approaches the part with such passion, realism, and commitment to the story that it elevates the whole picture to the next level. This performance is unlike any performance in 2015 and that is why today Abraham Attah is the front-runner for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Let’s break this down even further.

1)Passion – In doing research for this article, it came as quite a shock that Abraham Attah was acting in his first feature length film. Watching Attah on screen was like watching a conductor lead a symphony of emotions scene after scene. It was as if the audience had a ring-side seat to Agu’s life being smashed into a million pieces. Abraham showed great presence on screen as he ever so slowly morphed from an innocent young boy to a bloodthirsty solider. Maybe working with Idris Elba brought out the best in him?

 2) Realism – We often read about actors researching roles before they take on a part. Matthew McConaughey researched many of the issues surrounding AIDS and proper treatment before emaciating himself and taking on his Academy Award Winning role in Dallas Buyers Club. Having the proper background knowledge allows for a more authentic portrayal. Abraham Attah didn’t need to research his role because he’s from that region of the world. Instead of worrying about research, he was able to just throw himself into the role. The result was a jaw dropping performance by a child who’s never been on camera before. It just emphasizes the pure talent Attah possesses.

3) Commitment to the Story- Abraham Attah performance in Beasts Of No Nation is a master-class in commitment to a story line. The love that Agu has for his family is evident from the start, as slowly he has to endure heartbreak after heartbreak. It’s that love that transforms it into a cauldron of rage that allows Agu to go from a simple boy, to a conflicted soldier, and to a murderer of men. From the first second Beasts of No Nation starts, Attah is all in and he doesn’t relent which contributed to the countless magical moments that Attah has on screen.



Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
Dewey Singleton - Film Critic
I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.