Multiple award-winning actress, Genevieve Nnaji, the director of ‘Lionheart’, a film recently disqualified from Oscars, has reacted to the disqualification of the Nigeria’s 2020 entry.
‘LionHeart’ was disqualified on Monday November 4, for having too much English dialogue.
The movie which is Nigeria’s first-ever submission to the Academy Awards, was submitted for the international feature film Oscar category.
The Academy’s description of an international feature film ‘is 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 native to Southeastern Nigeria, while the remaining 94-minutes is in English.
On October 2, the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) submitted the film to represent the country at the award event to be held on February 9, 2020, in Los Angeles, United States.
With this, the number of films contending for the award has dropped from 93 to 92.
Ava DuVernay, an American filmmaker who directed the Netflix drama miniseries, ‘When They See Us’, also reacted to the disqualification.
To @TheAcademy, 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? https://t.co/X3EGb01tPF
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) November 4, 2019
However, Genevieve, while reacting, said the movie represents the way we speak as Nigerians, adding that the film is proudly Nigerian.
“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
“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,” she tweeted.
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 https://t.co/LMfWDDNV3e
— Genevieve Nnaji MFR (@GenevieveNnaji1) November 4, 2019