The Academy has disqualified ‘Lionheart’, Nigeria’s selection for the Best International Feature Film category at the Oscar 2020.
‘Lionheart’ is a movie directed by Genevieve Nnaji was enlisted for the category alongside 92 other films.
Okay.ng recalls that the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) picked ‘Lionheart’ after a statutory vetting and subsequent voting of entries received from Nigerian filmmakers at home and in the Diaspora.
However, the ‘Lionheart’ was been disqualified for the use of the English language which violates the Academy’s rule for entries into the Best International Feature category.
In reaction to the disqualification, Genevieve Nnaji responded to a tweet by American filmmaker, Ava Marie DuVernay, who criticised the move by the academy.
“To The Academy, You disqualified Nigeria’s first-ever submission for Best International Feature because its in English. But English is the official language of Nigeria. Are you barring this country from ever competing for an Oscar in its official language?”
Genevieve in her reply stated that ‘Lionheart’ represents the “way we speak as Nigerians.”
“I am the director of Lionheart. This movie represents the way we speak as Nigerians. This includes English which acts as a bridge between the 500+ languages spoken in our country; thereby making us #OneNigeria.”Genevieve said.
“It’s no different to how French connects communities in former French colonies. We did not choose who colonized us. As ever, this film and many like it, is proudly Nigerian.”
Lionheart, the movie premiered on Netflix last year features Adaeze (Genevieve), a competent yet perennially overlooked daughter, who is forced to work alongside her feckless uncle, Goodwill (Nkem Owoh), in order to save her father’s (Pete Edochie) ailing bus company, Lionheart.