Nigeria will not be present at the 2020 Oscars. LIONHEART, the only Nigerian film so far in competition, has been disqualified by the Academy of Oscars. Reason invoked, the almost constant use of the English language during the film.
LIONHEART, directed by Nigerian actress and director Genevieve Nnaji, currently broadcast on Netflix, is the pride of Nigerians since its release earlier this year. A stronger feeling of pride with the selection of the film for the next edition of the Oscars in the category of Best International Feature Film. But the euphoria could quickly fade after the Oscars Academy decided to withdraw the film of the competition whose selections are scheduled on Wednesday.
Netflix wrestles with the new film of Nigerian actress Genevieve Nnaji. For Academics, the film does not meet the required qualification criteria. Also nominated until 2019 best foreign-language film or Oscar for best foreign film, the category indicates that the film represented must be predominantly non-English speaking and must not be produced in the United States. Except for an 11-minute sequence in Igbo, most of LIONHEART dialogues are in English
Genevieve Nnaji, also an actress in the film, for her part has trouble understanding the position of the Academy. On her Twitter account, she regretted that her film came out of the competition, recalling that the feature film “expresses our way of speaking as Nigerians”. “This includes English, which serves as a bridge between the 500 or so languages spoken in our country. We did not choose who colonized us. As always, this film and many others are proudly Nigerian,” she added.
It is backed by Hollywood filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who questioned Nigeria’s chances of being selected as one of the Best International Oscars. Note that For this 92nd edition, 93 countries, including ten African films, were competing for the foreign film category. Of these, only five films will be nominated in this category.