Nigeria’s “Lionheart” movie directed by Genevieve Nnaji, selected in the Best International Feature Film category, has been disqualified by the Oscars Academy.
On the disqualification, a reliable source revealed that, the film became ineligible to compete because it is largely in English, leaving aside the fact that it is Nigeria’s first-ever submission in the Best International Feature Film category.
This year’s field is now tied with 2017’s as the largest in the category’s history.
This new development of disqualification coming from actress-turned-director, Genevieve Nnaji, its disqualification drops the number of female directors in this year’s race to 28, which is still a category record.
“Lionheart,” the first film ever submitted to the Oscars by Nigeria in which Nnaji also stars, is partially in the Igbo language of Nigeria. But it is mostly in English, which violates an Academy rule that entries in the category must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.”
The film had not been vetted by the Academy’s International Feature Film Award Executive Committee in advance of the Oct. 7 announcement of qualifying films but was recently viewed and determined not to qualify in a category that until this year was known as Best Foreign Language Film.
One other film, Afghanistan’s “Hava, Maryam, Ayesha,” had been deemed ineligible before the list of qualifying films was announced. It was denied a spot on the roster of contenders over questions about the legitimacy of the Afghan committee that submitted it. The Academy announced the disqualification of “Lionheart” to voters in the category in an email on Monday.