The Nigeria Oscar Selection Committee has admitted they made a mistake in submitting Genevieve's 'Lionheart' for Oscar consideration.
In a statement released by the committee's chairman, Chineze Anyaene, the nominees in its Best International Feature Film Category must have a predominantly non-English dialogue track, and 'Lionheart' despite being an unmistakably Nigerian film, did not tick this particular box.
"The budding Nigerian film industry is often faced with producing films with wide reach which often makes the recording dialogue predominantly English with non-English infusions in some cases. Going forward, the committee intends to submit films that are predominantly foreign language – non-English recording dialogue. We are therefore urging filmmakers to shoot with the intention of non-English recording dialogue as a key qualifying parameter to represent the country in the most prestigious award.
"The committee is working tirelessly in organizing workshops, seminars and using other available media to create robust awareness on the guidelines and requirements for an International Feature Film Entry. Lionheart passed on other technical requirements from story, to sound and picture except for language as adjudged by the Academy screening matrix, which was a challenge for the committee at a time. This is an eye-opener and step forward into growing a better industry," the statement reads.
The committee's reaction is coming barely 24 hours after the news of 'Lionheart' getting a big NO from the Oscars hit the Internet.
Why the movie got disqualified...
‘Lionheart’ was Genevieve’s directorial debut and she also starred in the film alongside popular Nollywood names like Nkem Owoh, Pete Edochie, Onyeka Onwenu, Kanayo O. Kanayo and Nigerian rapper Phyno.
It was revealed in October that the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) had picked the movie as Nigeria’s submission to the Best International Feature Film category of the 2020 Oscars. It was the first film ever submitted to the Oscars by Nigeria.
All hopes of making it to the final nominees have however been dashed as the Academy disqualified the movie from the Best International Feature Film category. As first reported by The Wrap, the Academy announced the disqualification of ‘Lionheart’ to voters in the category in an email on Monday, November 4, 2019.
It has been revealed that ‘Lionheart’ was not vetted by the Academy’s International Feature Film Award Executive Committee when the NOSC first picked the film.