Film / TV

oscars disqualify nigerian film for english dialogue

November 5, 2019
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As the years go by, it seems like we’ll be reeling from the aftereffects of European colonization for a long time to come. In an appalling but unsurprising turn of events, “Lionheart” a highly-praised Nigerian film does not qualify for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ foreign film submission because there’s too much English in it.

This is an event so stupid that I have to rephrase it for your full comprehension: A critically-acclaimed film has been barred from a chance at an Oscar because it comes from a country that was colonized by the British whose official language is thus ENGLISH.

“Lionheart,” a film by Genevieve Nnaji, earned Nigeria its first Oscar entry. Nnaji co-wrote the film alongside her producing partner Chinny Onwugbenu, and stars in it with other actors Peter Edochie and Nkem Owoh. Oscar rules dictate that for a film to qualify for the foreign category it must be “produced outside of the United States and with a predominately non-English dialogue track.” Nnaji has challenged this unfair rule by submitting her film and speaking out after she was denied recognition saying,

Ava DuVernay, a consistent champion for justice in the film industry made sure to speak up for Nnaji as well.

Let’s be loud and get this film the recognition it deserves.