The Academy came under fire after Nigeria & # 39; s first Best International Feature Film entry was disqualified from the category because it contains too much English dialogue.
Lionheart – which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September – is an original from Netflix and the first to come from the African country, which communicates in hundreds of languages but uses mainly English after colonization.
In a Monday email to voters for the 2020 Oscars, it was revealed that the Genevieve Nnaji-led film that contains some dialogue in the Igbo language of Nigeria would not be screened at an event for qualifying photos on Wednesday.
The Academy has renamed the Best foreign language film category to the best international film. However, the rebranding for 2020 did not include an update in the rule that a movie should have & # 39; a predominantly non-English-language dialogue track & # 39 ;.
Nigerian Lionheart was disqualified from the category Best international feature film for the Oscars 2020 and gave rise to reactions from, among others, Ava DuVernay
Actress and director Genevieve Nnaji argued that the film – which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September – is still Nigerian, despite the official language of the country
The director and star of the film joked: & # 39; We didn't choose who colonized us. It is no different than how French connects communities in former French colonies & # 39;
Film fans asked why the Executive Feature Film Award Executive Committee of the Academy did not investigate the film before the qualifications were announced on October 7.
The Lionheart director explained that English is the only connecting language in the country, which was a British colony for over 100 years until independence in 1960.
& # 39; This film represents the way we speak as Nigerians, & # 39; tweeted Genevieve Nnaji. & # 39; This includes English that acts as a bridge between the 500+ languages spoken in our country; making us #OneNigeria. & # 39;
The news of the disqualification of Lionheart meant that Honduran entry, Blood, Passion and Coffee, would perform a solo on Wednesday at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.
About her entry in the category where Les Miserables in France is currently winning the prize of 91 others, she added: “It is no different than how French connects communities in former French colonies.
& # 39; We did not choose who colonized us. As always, this film, and many of it, is proudly Nigerian. & # 39;
Indignant film fans claim that the decision was not fair and suggested that the history of the country should not penetrate the case
It was a reaction to a tweet from the acclaimed film and documentary maker Ava DuVernay who asked if it meant that Nigeria could never qualify for the best international film because of the official language.
& # 39; You disqualified Nigeria's first ever entry for Best International Feature because it is in English. But English is the official language of Nigeria. Are you blocking this country from ever competing for an Oscar in its official language? & # 39; DuVernay tweeted Monday.
Social media user Danny Walter has posted: & # 39; If the English language is the main reason why Lionheart was disqualified for the Oscar, then Nigeria's chances of winning an Oscar are zero. & # 39;
The Netflix film is about the challenges of running a business in a woman in a male-dominated industry.
Adaeze – played by Nnaji takes on the challenge when her father, Chief Ernest Obiagu, is forced to step back due to health problems. & # 39; Ironically, he appoints his rough and eccentric brother, Godswill, instead to run the business with his young daughter, & # 39; is the summary. & # 39; Complications arise when they discover that the family business is in financial difficulties and both Adaeze and God will try to save the company in their own way from crazy and often hilarious results. & # 39;
The disqualification also means that the number of female directors has dropped to 28 for the 92nd Academy Awards. It is still a record for the Oscars.
Some social media users agreed that Lionheart should be disqualified because the rules are clear
The only other disqualified film was Hava, Maryam, Ayesha in Afghanistan.
But the Academy took action before the qualifying films were announced last month and the issue surrounded the legitimacy of the Afghan committee that submitted it, The wrap reports.
Twitter user Franklin Leonard has posted: & # 39; Colonialism is really a bitch. & # 39;
But many claimed the rules were fair and suggested that the filmmakers should have asked for a special exception.
A tweeter reasoned: & # 39; Your criteria are valid, but also our reality. Making 2 categories – Best foreign film and Best international film – is probably the best. Film makers do not make films for prizes. We make films for our audience. & # 39;
A social media user hoped the rules could change, as seen in the music industry.
& # 39; 1. Steaming music was not even considered for Grammy. People protested and campaigned before rules changed, & Editi Effiong posted. & # 39; 2. Ava does not say that Lionheart has achieved the language minimum. She says that rule is stupid.
& # 39; 3. The fact that other films are qualified does not mean that the rule is not stupid, in context. & # 39;
Nominated nominations are announced in January and the ceremony takes place in February in Los Angeles.
A social media user hoped the rules could change, as seen in the music industry
Film fans asked why the Executive Feature Film Award Executive Committee of the Academy did not investigate the film before the qualifications were announced on October 7
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