Home NEWSBREAKING NEWS Oscars Disqualify Nigerian Film ‘Lion Heart’ Over English Dialogue

Oscars Disqualify Nigerian Film ‘Lion Heart’ Over English Dialogue

by Happynaija
Oscars Disqualify Nigerian Film ‘Lion Heart’ Over English Dialogue

Oscars Disqualify Nigerian Film ‘Lion Heart’ Over English Dialogue

The Oscars Award Academy has disqualified Nigeria’s ‘Lionheart’ from

the Oscar race in the Best International Feature Film category.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Academy dropped the

Genevieve Nnaji directorial debut, for having too much English dialogue.

The Academy’s criteria for best international feature film category states

that it awards film’s made outside the United States with a predominantly

non-English dialogue.

This drop by the Oscars has reduced the number of films competing for

the award to 92 from what had been a record 93 entries.

The disqualification also drops the number of female directors in this year’s

race to 28, which is still a category record.

NAN reports that it was the first film ever submitted to the Oscars by Nigeria.


‘Lionheart’, in which Nnaji also stars, is partially in the Igbo language.

But it is mostly in English, which seemed to violate the category’s criterion.

The film had not been vetted by the Academy’s International Feature

Film Award Executive Committee in advance of the October 7 announcement of qualifying films.

It was however, recently viewed and determined not to qualify in a category

that until this year was known as Best Foreign Language Film.

The Oscars Disqualify Nigerian Film ‘Lion Heart’ Over English Dialogue

The Academy announced the disqualification of ‘Lionheart’ to

voters in the category in an email on Monday.

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’.

Following the announcement, several film enthusiasts went

on social media to share their thoughts,

including award-winning director, Ava DuVernay.

DuVernay, who empathised with Nigeria wrote, “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?”

Responding to DuVernay, Genevieve Nnaji, who directed ‘Lion Heart’ said,

“Thank you so much @ava. I am the director of Lionheart.

This movie represents the way we speak as Nigerians.

Nigerian Film ‘Lion Heart’ Disqualified By Oscars Over English Dialogue

“This includes English which acts as a bridge between the 500+ languages

spoken in our country; thereby making us #OneNigeria. @TheAcademy.”

@Comemare said, “This category is for films that are in predominantly

other languages, not English. Since your film is mostly in English,

it can compete in all the

other major categories, along with other English language films from

Australia, Canada, Ireland, UK, etc. No one excluded your film.”

@Samirasawlani said, “Lionheart was today disqualified from

the Oscar’s Best Intl Film because it is mostly in English.

“Nigeria was colonised by the Brits. English is an official language in the

country. You really can’t win with this lot. Quite literally cannot win.”

@TravRicardson wrote, “I definitely feel you, this category was just

changed from Best Foreign Language Film to the very vague Best

International Feature Film. Seems like they are going to the

foreign language requirement.

“I guess they don’t take into account countries that speak English. It’s dumb!”

@Royalmusings said, “The category is for non-English language movies.

Canada has had French-language films nominated. Had the movie been

in Hausa or Yoruba. It would have been accepted.”


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