Nigeria’s first ever entry for the international feature film Oscar category, “Lionheart” has been disqualified by the Academy.
The disqualification was announced on Monday, and it is based on the Academy rules stating that “An international feature film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.” “Lionheart” was thereby disqualified, as it predominantly features English dialogue.
The disqualification has led to criticism from Hollywood director Ava DuVernay.
Ava appeared displeased over the development, and took to her Twitter page to register this.
“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 Nnaji in response to Ava Duvernay, also expressed her reservations over the disqualification of ‘Lionheart’ in a series of tweets.
“1/1 1/2 Thank you so much @ava❤️.
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. @TheAcademy”
“2/2 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. @TheAcademy”