Nigerians are heartbroken as the Academy dropped the Lionheart comedy movie from the Oscars because it had “too much dialogue in English.”
Lionheart – Nigeria’s first-ever submission – was vying for Oscar’s Best International Feature film category.
According to the organisers, Lionheart violates its rules because international entries for that category should have “a predominately non-English dialogue track.” The movie is mainly in English, with an 11-minute section in the Igbo language.
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Early this year, American over-the-top media service provider, Netflix, acquired Lionheart as its first African original movie directed by Nigerian actress Genevieve Nnaji.
The Academy’s decision did not sit well with Nnaji, who has taken to social media to protest.
1/1 1/2 Thank you so much @ava❤️.— Genevieve Nnaji MFR (@GenevieveNnaji1) November 4, 2019
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
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 https://t.co/LMfWDDNV3e— Genevieve Nnaji MFR (@GenevieveNnaji1) November 4, 2019
Lionheart was one of 29 movies being considered for the category. The Academy announced the disqualification of “Lionheart” to voters in the category in an email on Monday, reported The Wrap. The film was scheduled to screen for Academy voters in the international category on Wednesday in a double bill with the Honduran entry, “Blood, Passion, and Coffee,” it added.