#TrendingAwards2019: The silver screen's best and worst

Kandasamys: The Wedding is the highest-grossing SA film so far in history. Picture: Supplied
Kandasamys: The Wedding is the highest-grossing SA film so far in history. Picture: Supplied

The highest-grossing local film this year was, unsurprisingly, Kandasamys: The Wedding, a follow-up to 2017’s highly successful Keeping Up with the Kandasamys. It made a spectacular R20.1 million, making it the 14th highest grossing film on the South African 2019 box office overall, and the highest grossing South African film of all time.

Considering that last year the highest grossing South African film, Leon Schuster’s Frank and Fearless, only made about R8 million, this is a spectacular achievement.

For the first time, Afrikaans films didn’t completely dominate the local list. Sanele Zulu’s Losing Lerato proved to be a winner with audiences, while crowd pleasers Love Lives Here and Zulu Wedding really held their own. Critically acclaimed gems include Kings of Mulberry Street, Back of the Moon and Sew the Winter to My Skin.



This year, it’s a toss-up between Angus Gibson’s Sophiatown romance Back of the Moon and Kagiso Lediga’s buddie flick Matwetwe for the #Trending pick.


South African documentaries were particularly strong this year. Genius works included Buddha in Africa, Nicole Schafer’s startling look at a Chinese orphanage in Malawi, as well as mine pollution exposés Dying for Gold and Jozi Gold. But it was rhino documentary Stroop that kept raking in prizes and acclaim. Though released in 2018, the film received another wave of world-wide attention this year after screening at several international film festivals. Recent screenings on M-Net and Showmax also gained it favourable local attention.


1. Kandasamys: The Wedding

2. Losing Lerato

3. Dominee Tienie

4. Zulu Wedding

5. Fiela Se Kind

6. Love Lives Here

7. Blessers

8. Kings of Mulberry Street

9. The Story of Racheltjie De Beer

10. Skemerson


It blows the mind to think how much money Disney made in South Africa alone this year. With their recent acquisition of 20th Century Fox, it means they had five of the 10 highest-grossing films at the South African box office. The Lion King remake made a whopping R120 million, while Avengers: Endgame raked in R103 million.

Comic book capers, sequels and live action remakes dominated what we were watching, for better or worse. There was also an infatuation with clowns this year. ‘It’ got a terrifying part two and Joker provided a dark look into Batman’s arch nemesis.


In terms of #Trending’s pick, we look at the cultural significance the film had on South Africans, the pop culture buzz it created, as well as the film’s values in terms of representation. Last year, we gave it to Black Panther – as its impact on South Africans (and the world) was undeniable.

This year, although not particularly our favourite from a critics’ standpoint, The Lion King has to take the prize. With its use of South African actor John Kani as well as the many African artists in Beyoncé’s accompanying album, its reach was undeniable.


Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, Jordan Peele’s Us and Todd Phillips’ Joker had us impressed.


Sextuplets, Rambo: Last Blood and Dark Phoenix were real stinkers.


1. The Lion King

2. Avengers: Endgame

3. Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

4. Captain Marvel

5. Aladdin

6. Spider-Man: Far from Home

7. Aquaman

8. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

9. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

10. Toy Story 4


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