Ava DuVernay And Other Sound Off After Nigerian Film 'Lionheart' Banned From Oscars

November 6, 2019
The Nigerian film "Lionheart" was banned from the Oscars.

Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images


Nigeria's first Oscar submission will not make it to the awards this season. The first Nigerian Netflix original "Lionheart" has been disqualified from entering under the “international feature film” category due to the predominance of the English dialogue used throughout.

The film, which first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018, details the story of a young woman struggling to control her family business. The Academy rule for international features is that the films must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.” "Lionheart" contains less than 12 minues of dialogue in a language that is not English.

Ava DuVernay, known for projects such as "When They See Us" and "A Wrinkle In Time", shared her criticism of The Academy's decison on Twitter.

“You disqualified Nigeria’s first-ever submission for Best International Feature because its in English. But English is the official language of Nigeria. Are you barring this country from ever competing for an Oscar in its official language?,”she wrote.

The film's star and director Genevieve Nnaj respondeded to DuVernay with thanks.

“I am the director of Lionheart. 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," she wrote.

Do you think the rules are fair?

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