Oscars disqualify Nigerian film 'Lion Heart' over English dialogues

Oscars 2020 Why Genevieve Nnaji’s “Lionheart” Was Disqualified

Oscars 2020 Why Genevieve Nnaji’s “Lionheart” Was Disqualified

According to the rules by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, "an global film is defined as a feature-length motion picture (defined as over 40 minutes) produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track".

Amidst all this, we bring to you an investigative report done by us highlighting how deep piracy has eaten into the Nigeria movie industry.

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who has worked on such projects as Selma and Netflix's When They See Us, has also voiced her disapproval with the Academy's stand.

The film's director, Genevieve Nnaji, followed up with some posts of her own. She tweeted; "To @TheAcademy, You disqualified Nigeria's first-ever submission for Best International Feature because its in English".

With Nigeria's disqualification, the number of films competing for the award is now 92 from what had been a record 93 entries. Out of its 94-minute runtime, Lionheart has around 12 minutes of dialogue in Southeastern Nigeria's native language, Igbo, but the rest of the film is in English.

Interestingly, the scrapping of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also being discussed, as English is supposed to be our official language.

And if all that is not confusing enough, despite the academy's ostensible language requirement, in 1983 a completely dialogue-free film, the Algerian dance film "Le Bal", earned a nomination in the foreign-language film category.

The Nigeria Oscar Selection Committee (NOSC) also responded to the development.

Going forward, the committee intends to submit films which are predominantly foreign language - non-English recording dialogue.

While a movie in any language can, in theory, win the most prestigious award of Best Picture, no non-English language film has ever triumphed. It is now available on Netflix.

Lionheart passed on other technical requirements from story, to sound and picture except for language as adjudged by the Academy screening matrix, which was a challenge for the committee at a time. "This is an eye-opener and a step forward into growing a better industry". She has to prove herself in the male-dominated world.

Celebrities like Victoria Kimani, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and Victor Asemota were quick to show solidarity and support to Genevieve Nnaji and the entire cast and crew of Lionheart.

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