Academy Disqualifies 'Nigerian Nominee for Oscar, Lionheart'


* Nnaji                                                               image: Netflix
Nigerian actress and movie director, Genevieve Nnaji remained upbeat Monday in her reaction to the disqualification of her movie, ''Lionheart'' for Oscar consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

''Lionheart'', is Nigeria's first-ever submission for best international feature Oscar consideration. The comedy “Lionheart,” was disqualified by the  Academy for having too much dialogue in English.

Tweeting her reaction from her twitter arm Genevieve Nnaji1, the actress  said:  ''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''

''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''

Ava DuVernay is a high-powered Hollywood figure and  movie director who first tweeted her dismay over the disqualification, noting that English is the official language of Nigeria. In her tweet, she had expressed surprise at ''Lionheart'''s disqualification stating  from her twitter arm @ava ''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''

 “Lionheart” has earned strong reviews. The film which is currently streaming on Netflix, is mostly in English, running afoul of an academy rule that entries in the freshly renamed international feature film category must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.” All but roughly 11 minutes of the 95-minute film — about a woman trying to keep her father’s company afloat in a male-dominated world — are in English.

“Lionheart” was one of 10 African films officially submitted for Oscar consideration this year, a record for the continent. With the disqualification, the number of films in contention for the award has dropped from 93 to 92. The film is still eligible to be considered in other Oscar categories.

The academy’s decision was communicated via email to Oscar voters

This isn’t the first time the academy has disqualified a foreign film from consideration for having too much English dialogue; in recent years, the 2015 Afghan film “Utopia” and the 2007 Israeli movie “The Band’s Visit” were disqualified for the same reason.

The disqualification of “Lionheart” —  ironically, follows the academy’s decision earlier this year to change the name of the category from best foreign-language film to best international feature film
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