Nigeria’s hopes of earning its first Oscar nomination have been cut short after the academy disqualified Genevieve Nnaji’s directorial debut, ‘Lionheart’, from consideration in the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category. The Oscars organisers on Monday, November 5, dropped the movie saying it did not meet the language requirement necessary for inclusion in the category since it was filmed mostly in English.
Despite ‘Lionheart’ having some Igbo parts, that was not enough because the Academy rule requires a predominantly non-English dialogue track in order to be considered for the category. The disqualification of ‘Lionheart’ from the Oscars race reduced the movies competing in the category to 92 and also led to a drop in the number of female directors to 28.
According to a report by The Wrap, the film may have been disqualified before voters in the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category even got a chance to see it. It was reportedly supposed to screen for voters on Wednesday before the news about its disqualification came.
In a Twitter post, Genevieve reacted to the disqualification indicating ‘Lionheart’ is more of a Nigerian movie and it was delivered according to how the Nigerians speak.
Genevieve received a congratulatory message from celebrated actress Kerry Washington over her achievement. News of the nomination was met with widespread excitement that is now being dimmed by the disqualification.