Nigeria’s hopes of getting an Oscar-nominated film have been dashed after the Academy disqualified ‘Lionheart’.
The Academy said the movie which was selected for the Best International Feature has too much English in it, which flouts the category description.
“For a film to qualify for the category it has to be a non-American production and also has to be in a language other than English. Foreign films where the majority of the dialogue is in English cannot qualify for the award,” it says in its description.
Lionheart which had received positive reviews was scheduled to screen for Academy voters in the international category on Wednesday.
According to The Wrap website, its disqualification was announced to voters in an email on Monday.
Lionheart was one of the unprecedented 29 films out of 93 originally submitted this year that were directed by women.
Many people have argued that there are over 500+ languages spoken in Nigeria to which English which makes the disqualification unfair. Also, other languages like Igbo and Pidgin spoken in the movie comes together to show what Nigeria is.
Popular American movie producer Ava Duvernay took to twitter to lash out at the academy for disqualifying Lionheart.
“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?” the ‘When They See Us’ director wrote.
Director of Lionheart Genevieve Nnaji also took to Twitter to protest the disqualification of the movie.
According to her, the film represents the way Nigerian speak and English is the bridge between the 500 plus languages spoken in the country.
“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,” she added.
The film garnered positive reviews and it is currently streaming on Netflix.