On November 4, 2019, Nigeria’s hope of getting nominated for or even winning an Academy Awards was dashed after the country’s first and only submission to the Oscars was disqualified.
Genevieve Nnaji’s directorial debut movie, Lionheart, was dropped by the Oscars for not meeting requirements for the International Film category.
According to the Academy, the category requires “a predominantly non-English dialogue track” to make the cut. Unfortunately, Lionheart was not considered to have made the cut.
In reaction to the unfortunate news, veteran actor Segun Arinze explained that every game has its rules and regulations.
In a phone call interview with Plus TV, Arinze explained how he reliably gathered that Lionheart met all the other requirements seeing as the picture and sound was of good quality. However, the film fell short in terms of spoken language.
He said: “If it’s going to be a foreign language film, it has to be at least 60% of Igbo or Yoruba and the rest 40% could be in English. But they fell short and were about 20% Igbo, so that was a minus”.
Speaking further, Arinze added that even though English is Nigeria’s lingua franca, it cannot be considered a foreign language.
Segun Arinze also spoke on how Genevieve stood alone to push the film and how things would have been different if Nigeria had influencers to push their matter at the Oscars.
He said: “The international politics of film was also involved because their government pushed. It takes a lot of money to push. Influence! We didn’t have influencers to help push that matter. So if we had influencers to help push Nigeria’s entry into the Oscars…”
“But unfortunately, Genevieve was just on her own.”
Watch the video below: