Nigerian movie 'Lionheart' gets disqualified from Oscar entry for excessive English dialogue

Nigerian movie is disqualified from the International feature film Oscar category. Director of the movie Genevieve Nnaji backlashed Academy of Motion Picture and posted a tweet

Genevieve Nnaji
Genevieve Nnaji. Twitter/Genevieve Nnaji

Nigerian movie 'Lionheart' is disqualified from the 2020 official Oscar entry by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences due to too much use of English dialogue throughout the movie. It is disheartening for the directors and all who were involved in the making of the film for not getting part of gratitude and recognition it entitled to claim.

The movie is first ever submission to Academy Awards from Nigeria. It is directed by debutant Genevieve Nnaji who is also playing a part in the movie aside co-actors Peter Edochie and Nkem Owoh. Nnaji is a Nigerian actress, producer, and director now. She has won Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading role in 2005 which made her first lady to win an award in this category.

It was Monday when Motion Picture declared Nigerian movie ineligible to enter for the International feature film Oscar category. However, the film is not excluded from entering other Oscar categories, including consideration for the best picture which is a sigh of relief for the makers.

The decision taken by Motion Picture did not go well with director Ava DuVernay. An American film director showed her grief on the denial of Oscar entry for "Lionheart" and shared her feelings on Twitter. She wrote – "To @TheAcademy, You disqualified Nigeria's first-ever submission for Best International Feature because it's 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?"

Director of the movie Genevieve Nnaji thanked Ava DuVernay for supporting her movie and wrote in response, "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. ... We did not choose who colonized us. As ever, this film and many like it is proudly Nigerian." – She tweeted.

This is not the first time Academy of Motion Picture has disqualified the Oscar entry for foreign films. Earlier, an Afghan movie "Utopia" and Israeli movie "The Band's Visit" were rejected for the same reason. Lionheart was premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year and is currently available on Netflix

Twitter/ @Ava DuVernay
Twitter/ @Genevieve Nnaji MFR