Netflix Nigeria movie banned from Oscars for being too English

Genevieve Nnaji’s film Lionheart was deemed not to qualify for the Oscars' foreign film category

Genevieve Nnaji’s film Lionheart was deemed not to qualify for the Oscars' foreign film category

Nigeria's premier movie at the Oscars, "Lionheart" would have won the Oscars if only it had been in Igbo language with English subtitles.

The Oscars is already embroiled in its first race row of the season as it bans Nigeria's film submission because it's in English.

The film stars and is directed by Nollywood superstar Genevieve Nnaji.

The first Netflix Inc. original film produced in Nigeria has been disqualified from the best global movie category at the Oscars for "having too much dialogue in English".

Ava slammed the disqualification and pointed out that English happens to be the official language of Nigeria on account of its history as a British colony.

In order to be eligible for the golden statuette, the Academy rules that entries, in addition to being made outside the USA, must have "a predominantly non-English dialogue track", as with this year's British contender "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind", which is mostly in the Chichewa language.

"As this year's submitted films were evaluated, we discovered that Lionheart includes only 11 minutes of non-English dialogue, which makes it ineligible for this award category".

"Lionheart" is about a woman who takes over the running of her father's business when he is forced to give up due to ill health.

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This was not enough foreign language content for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who say that to compete in their global category a film must be produced outside the U.S. and have "a predominantly non-English dialogue track".

"It's no different to how French connects communities in former French colonies".

She wrote: "To The Academy, you disqualified Nigeria's first-ever submission for Best International Feature because it's in English".

The Chairman of the committee, Chineze Anyaene, in a statement on Tuesday, said Nigerian filmmakers have had concerns with regard to shooting movies "with non-English recording dialogue" because the industry is "often faced with producing films with a wide reach".

"Are you barring this country from ever competing for an Oscar in its official language?"

"We did not choose who colonized us", Nnaji tweeted.

While a movie in any language can, in theory, win the most prestigious award of Best Picture, no non-English language film has ever triumphed.

Lionheart is streaming on Netflix.

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