Magazine article Screen International

Academy Responds to Nigerian Oscar Entry ‘Lionheart’ Ruling (Update)

Magazine article Screen International

Academy Responds to Nigerian Oscar Entry ‘Lionheart’ Ruling (Update)

Article excerpt

Film ruled out of international feature race by Academy for containing too much English dialogue.

The Academy on Tuesday (5) issued a statement following the decision to declare Genevieve Nnaji’s Nigerian best international feature film Oscar submission Lionheart ineligible on grounds of containing too much English dialogue.

In a statement the Academy said, “In April 2019, we announced that the name of the Foreign Language Film category changed to International Feature Film. We also confirmed that the rules for the category would not change.

“The intent of the award remains the same – to recognize accomplishment in films created outside of the United States in languages other than English.

“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.”

The film, Nigeria’s first ever Oscar entry, had not been vetted by the Academy’s foreign language committee when the original list of qualifying films was announced at the start of October. According to reports, around 10 minutes of the film’s 95-minute running time is in Nigeria’s Igbo language, with the rest in English.

Director Nnaji, who also stars in the film as a woman in a male-dominated industry who steps up to run her father’s company when he falls sick, took to Twitter to protest the decision. …

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