The citizens of South Africa take the Academy Award more seriously than the denizens of Hollywood. “Tsotsi” director Gavin Hood — whose movie of crime, social class and redemption won the Oscar for best foreign-language film — can hardly wait for the official parade in honor of the cast and filmmakers when they return to Johannesburg on Sunday.

“I got the call of congratulations from President Thabo Mbeki‘s office,” the 42-year-old Hood told me yesterday. “It’s a bit overwhelming. We’re going to have a welcome-home event through Joberg and the shanty towns, with a big celebration at the Market Theater in New Town. It’s as though we’ve just won the World Cup.”


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