The Academy has disqualified Nigeria’s “Lionheart” from the Oscar race in the Best International Feature Film category.
“Lionheart” made by actress-turned-director Genevieve Nnaji, was the first film ever submitted to the Oscars by Nigeria.
“Lionheart,” in which Nnaji also stars, is partially in the Igbo language of Nigeria. But it is mostly in English, which violates an Academy rule that entries in the category must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.”
The film had not been vetted by the Academy’s International Feature Film Award Executive Committee in advance of the Oct. 7 announcement of qualifying films but was recently viewed and determined not to qualify in a category that until this year was known as Best Foreign Language Film.
For her part, Nnaji tweeted in response to the academy’s decision 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. … We did not choose who colonized us. As ever, this film and many like it, is proudly Nigerian.”