The Lionheart movie directed and produced by Nigerian actress turned director, Genevieve Nnaji which became Nigeria’s first-ever submission to the Oscar Academy for the Category of “Best International Feature Film” got disqualified yesterday, the 4th of November 2019 for the 2020 Oscar entry.
The movie was disqualified by the academy for not having a predominantly non-English dialogue as the movie had only 11minutes with dialogue in a foreign language (Igbo) as English predominated which violated its rule.
The Oscar Academy rules for the “Best International Feature Film” category states that it only awards movies made outside the United States with a predominantly non-English dialogue
Lionheart was one of the 93 movie entries competing for this prestigious award. It was also one of the 29 movie entries with female directors.
The disqualification notice was mailed to voters in the international category yesterday.
Award-winning director Ava DuVernay expressed his dismay with the Academy’s decision on disqualifying Nigeria’s first-ever submission for Best International Feature because it was predominantly in English. He went on further to say that English is the official language of Nigeria and asked if the Academy intends barring Nigeria from ever competing for an Oscar in its Official language.
In response to DuVernay, Genevieve Nnaji took to her Twitter handle in appreciation of his comment. She further went on to say that the movie depicts the way we speak as Nigerians and that English acts a bridge between the over 500 languages spoken in the country thereby uniting the people and making us OneNigeria.
Another tweet by @Comemare in response to Nnaji’s tweet said that this category was for films that were predominantly in other languages and not English and that since the film was mostly in English, that it stands the shot of competing with other English films from Australia, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, etc. Further stating that no one excluded her field.
Another tweet by @TravRicardson wrote that he totally gets her but that the category was just changed from Best Foreign Language to the very vague “Best International Feature Film and that it seemed like the academy was referring only to the foreign language requirement which he considered dumb.
Another tweet by @Royalmusings said that the category was for non-English Language movies and noted that Canada also had French-language films nominated. He added that if Lionheart had been in Hausa or Yoruba, that it would have been accepted by the Oscar Academy.
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