Nigeria’s Oscar Selection Committee has today reacted to the recent disqualification of Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’ submission to the 92nd Academy Awards.
According to the Academy, movies nominated in the Best International Feature Film Category must have a predominantly non-English dialogue track, and ‘Lionheart,’ despite being an indisputable Nigerian film, fails to meet the requirements.
The announcement has attracted concerns from movie producers, with major voices like American filmmaker, Ava DuVernay speaking up against the disqualification on social media.
As expected, Nigerians on twitter have been reacting to the announcement in various manners showing their disappointment and displeasures over the disqualification. The reason for the outrage isn’t farfetched, that movie was Nigeria’s first nomination in the international academy awards.
Responding to this recent development, the NOSC Chairperson Chineze Anyaene said:
The budding Nigerian film industry is often faced with producing films with wide reach which often makes the recording dialogue predominantly English with non-English infusions in some cases.
Going forward, the committee intends to submit films which are predominantly foreign language – non-English recording dialogue. We are therefore urging filmmakers to shoot with intention of non-English recording dialogue as a key qualifying parameter to represent the country in the most prestigious award.
The committee is working tirelessly in organizing workshops, seminars and using other available media to create robust awareness on the guidelines and requirements for an International Feature Film Entry.
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 step forward into growing a better industry.”
The Best International Feature Film category is stated to carry certain requirements, which must be fulfilled before a film can be submitted. Some of them are:
1. The film must have been first released in the country submitting it, after which it must have been exhibited for a minimum of 7 consecutive days in a movie theatre.
2. The movie must be predominantly non-English which means that movies with predominant English dialogue will not qualify for the award.
3. The film must not be transmitted electronically or otherwise, before its official release in the theatre.