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Genevieve Nnaji’s film ‘Lionheart’ was disqualified from the Oscars

Genevieve Nnaji‘s movie, ‘Lionheart’ has been disqualified by the Academy from the 2020 Oscar race.

‘Lionheart’ was Genevieve’s directorial debut and she also starred in the film alongside popular Nollywood names like Nkem Owoh, Pete Edochie, Onyeka Onwenu, Kanayo O. Kanayo and Nigerian rapper Phyno.

It was revealed in October that the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) had picked the movie as Nigeria’s submission to the Best International Feature Film category of the 2020 Oscars.

It was the first film ever submitted to the Oscars by Nigeria.

‘Too much English’

All hopes of making it to the final nominees have however been dashed as the Academy disqualified the movie from the Best International Feature Film category.

As first reported by The Wrap, the Academy announced the disqualification of ‘Lionheart’ to voters in the category in an email on Monday, November 4, 2019.

It has been revealed that ‘Lionheart’ was not vetted by the Academy’s International Feature Film Award Executive Committee when the NOSC first picked the film.

After a recent viewing, the Academy deemed the film to have too much much English dialogue and disqualified it from the Best International Feature Film category which until this year was known as Best Foreign Language Film.

‘Lionheart’ is partially in the Igbo language of Nigeria but it is mostly in English.

Genevieve reacts

Genevieve was not pleased with the disqualification and took to Twitter to express her feeling of disapproval.

“I am the director of Lionheart. This movie represents the way we speak as Nigerians,” she said in a series of tweets.

“This includes English which acts as a bridge between the 500+ languages spoken in our country; thereby making us #OneNigeria.

“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.”

The NOSC Chairperson Chineze Anyaene in a statement urged filmmakers to “shoot with the intention of non-English recording dialogue as a key qualifying parameter to represent the country in the most prestigious award.”

Anyaene also revealed that the committee is working to organising workshops and seminars to create robust awareness on the guidelines and requirements for an International Feature Film Entry.

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