When and can Nollywood ever win an Oscar? It takes more than a 'good' film and social media publicity to win one.
Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood are objectively the most popular film industries in the world, but for some reasons, the Nigerian film industry has failed to be a contender in the Foreign Language film category.
Africa is no stranger to the Oscars with countries like Algeria, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Mauritania having been nominated in the past, with Algeria being the first African country to win one, and South Africa's "Tsotsi " the first non-French African film to win.
In 2014, a 12-member Oscars Nigerian committee was approved by the Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The committee was aimed at paving way for entries from Nigeria to be taken into consideration. It's 2017, and so far, no Nigerian movie has made it.
Why then is Nollywood yet to earn a nomination? We could defend the industry by stating the now clichéd "cut Nollywood some slack, we are just 20."
We could even resort to "Oscars is too white to pay attention to Nollywood." Or, we could be realistic, get past our social media hype, and state the obvious, Nollywood isn't there yet.
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There is the fact that the Academy have a thing for a well-made melodramatic movie, and Nollywood is yet to make the kind of movie the Academy is interested in. So, if we don't present the jury with something they want to see, how can Nollywood get nominated?
While Nollywood has grown and can boast of quality movies, most Nigerian films are still crappy productions aimed at the mass audience. In the process of trying to appease the masses, a mess is made out of most movies.
Nollywood has very few movies with international appeal and universal themes. The Nigerian film industry has few movies rich in content and culture.
Also, it takes a lot of publicity for a movie to get noticed for an Oscars. Argue all you like about "La La Land" being 'overhyped,' but aside from being a 'good movie,' a lot of publicity and promotion went into making the film popular internationally and locally.
In Nigeria, most filmmakers are yet to reach out to their local market through publicity. For some, publicity is all about Twitter and Instagram. Blame it on finance, but, social media publicity won't earn Nollywood an Oscars.
Nollywood isn't at that point were they can argue about how they deserve an Oscars nomination. It shouldn't even be a conversation.
The conversation should be how to create more films that deserve international recognition and how to get those movies the recognition they deserve. Recognition at international film festivals - not as side deals at the festivals, but as the main deal.
At the end of the day, what's the big deal if a country, movie or actor wins an Oscar?
Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Academy Award in 2016. Genevieve Nnaji once said the Oscars isn't her benchmark, and I agree with her.
No award should be an industry/actor's benchmark.