Oscar Academy explains ‘Lion Heart’ disqualification

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As criticisms continue to trail the disqualification of Genevieve Nnaji’s movie, ‘Lion Heart’ from the Oscar race, the Academy has cited reasons for the disqualification.

In a statement published on Variety Magazine, the Academy cited ‘Lion Heart’s mere 11 minutes of non-English dialogue as grounds for disqualification.

“In April 2019, we announced that the name of the Foreign Language Film category would be changed to International Feature Film. We also confirmed that the rules for the category would not change. The intent of the award remains the same — to recognise accomplishment in films created outside of the United States in languages other than English,” the statement reads.

“As this year’s submitted films were evaluated, we discovered that ‘Lionheart’ includes only 11 minutes of non-English dialogue, which makes it ineligible for this award category.”

Nigeria’s Oscar Selection Committee on Tuesday described the disqualification as “an eye-opener” and said it would urge local filmmakers to take care to follow Academy guidelines in the future.

The committee acknowledged that “Lionheart”, which is Nigeria’s first-ever submission for Oscar contention — departed from the requirement that contenders feature “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.” The 95-minute comedy is mostly in English, with a short section in the Igbo language.

Despite the selection committee’s statement, the disqualification of “Lionheart” sparked a backlash on social media.