Genevieve Nnaji’s drama film “Lionheart” was disqualified from the Oscars, after making the entry point, on the grounds of containing “too much English dialogue”.
This action caused an outrage on social media, which was started by the directed Nnaji.
In a tweet, she fired the Academy: “This movie represents the way we speak as Nigerians. This includes English which acts as a bridge between the 500+ languages spoken in our country; thereby making us #OneNigeria. It’s no different to how French connects communities in former French colonies. We did not choose who colonized us. As ever, this film and many like it, is proudly Nigerian.”
But Leila says she shouldn’t play victim because she failed to follow the rules of the Academy.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, November 6, she said there are many local languages she could choose from, adding that African filmmakers should “learn a little bit of your neighbours’ language.”
She ended by saying: “Leave your colonial master alone. He’s gone. You’re free. Now, choose!”
Read the full post:
“Follow the rules
Don’t play victim when you don’t.
The fact that folks are whining as it the film would have made the shortlist has me flabbergasted. Hype is a drug!
African filmmakers, if you want to enter your film in the Oscars, make it for that purpose and follow the rules. We have so many languages whether English is your official language or not. What state/region is your story set in? Use that language.
There’s no way a Ghanaian for example can make an authentic film about Dipo Rites in English or twi. You gotta make it in krobo language.
So, your colonial masters dragged tribes together to form countries? Fine. We’re Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Benin. Learn a little bit of your neighbors language. You’re Ashanti? Learn Ewe and Hausa. You’re Ewe? Learn Fante. Learn French, Swahili. That’s how we stay united and grow our markets. This constant excuse of “if we don’t make it English it won’t sell” is old. South African films, Indian, Chinese films are all doing well internationally in their local language of choice! Like Cotton Twines was in Ewe. My investors all got paid back and even I made money enough for a burger.
Leave your colonial master alone. He’s gone. You’re free. Now, choose!”