Genevieve Nnaji directorial directorial debut movie, Lionheart which is also Nigeria’s first-ever submission to the Academy Awards has been disqualified on Monday November 4, for having too much English dialogue.
LionHeart which is not excluded from entering other Oscar categories including consideration for best picture, has just under 12 minutes of dialogue that is in the Igbo language native to Southeastern Nigeria, while the remaining 94-minutes is in English. With the disqualification, the number of films in contention for the award has dropped from 93 to 92.
Reacting to the disqualification of the movie, American filmmaker who directed the Netflix drama miniseries When They See Us, Ava DuVernay took to her twitter page to write “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?”
To which Genevieve Nnaji responded “1/1 1/2 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. @TheAcademy
“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.” She added, “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.”