Nigeria’s first-ever submission for the category of the Best International Feature Oscar consideration, the comedy “Lionheart,” has been disqualified by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for having too much dialogue in English. The academy’s decision was communicated via email to all Oscar voters and was first reported by The Wrap. The academy however made it known that the film ‘Lionheart’ is still eligible to be considered in other Oscar categories.
This will make it officially the third time the Academy has disqualified a foreign film for having too much English dialogue. The disqualification of “Lionheart” which follows the academy’s decision earlier this year to change the name of the category from Best Foreign-Language Film to Best International feature film really struck a sour and sad note with at least one high-powered Hollywood figure; director Ava DuVernay. She, however, tweeted her dismay, noting that English is the official language of Nigeria.
Genevieve Nnaji who was the director of the movie was also very disappointed about the academy’s decision. She tweeted that her movie represents the way we speak as Nigerians. This includes English, which acts as a bridge between the 500+ languages spoken in our country.
The movie ‘Lionheart’ was one of 10 African films which were officially submitted for Oscar consideration this year, a record for the continent. With the disqualification of this said film, the number of films in contention for the award has dropped from 93 to 92. The film is, however, still eligible to be considered in other Oscar categories.