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"Invictus" shows Nelson Mandela shortly after his release from prison, as a new president working to unite a polarized South Africa by changing the image of the nation's all-white rugby team. Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon star in the film.

Eastwood in his craftsman mode with "Invictus," says Rafer Guzman, film contributor for "The Takeaway."

"I think he is an uneven director in a lot of ways," said Guzman. "He has done some really amazing films. 'Unforgiven,' to me, is his masterpiece, if not one of the great masterpieces in American movies.  And yet he can also do these pretty bad films like 'Bloodwork,' which I thought was one of the worst films of the decade.

"And, he can do really good A-list Hollywood, craftsman-like movies, like this one, or 'Changling' or 'Million Dollar Baby' -- which I think are good, top-notch Hollywood films."

Along with Oscar buzz, there's also some controversy around the film: South African actors say they should be playing these major roles set in their country.

South African arts and entertainment journalist, Nadia Neophytou, says that as "Invictus" is being released, another film about South Africans, played by American actors, is about to be made.

"The Creative Workers Union was very upset with this, saying 'we want more South African actors because we do have some great talent to take on these strong roles in these stories,'" said Neophytou.

South Africa actor Florence Mesebe gets more candid: "South African actors are never going to be good enough, because we don't have the Hollywood tag. We are tired of the Hollywood box office excuse," she said.

Neophytou says this sentiment is shared by other South African actors as well; but some see it differently. "A lot of these actors have gotten an incredible opportunity to star alongside the big Hollywood names, which gives them a greater platform and way more exposure than they would have ever have gotten."

"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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