Nigeria’s entry for Oscar race Lionheart disqualified by Academy

Nigeria’s entry for Oscar race Lionheart disqualified by Academy

The organisers of the Oscars have disqualified Nigeria’s first-ever entry for consideration in the International Feature Film category because it has too much dialogue in English, according to reports.

The disqualification of Lionheart – directed by and starring Genevieve Nnaji, one of the biggest stars of Nigeria’s film industry widely known as Nollywood – was conveyed in an email to voters for the category, The Wrap reported on Monday.

According to the rules by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, “an international 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”.

Lionheart has just under 12 minutes of dialogue that is in the Igbo language, while the rest of the 95-minute feature is in English, according to Hollywood Reporter.

The movie was scheduled to be screened to voters for the category, formerly known as best foreign language film, on Wednesday.

‘Proudly Nigerian’

Lionheart, in which Nnaji plays Adaeze, a woman who tries to keep her family’s transportation business afloat after her father suffers a heart attack,is currently streaming on Netflix.

Nnaji took to Twitter to express her disapproval of the Academy’s decision.

Filmmaker Ava Durnay also criticised the Academy in a Twitter post.

“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?”

Many others also took to social media to comment on the Academy’s move.

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