Of Lionheart’s Disqualification HeartBreak

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has disqualified Nigeria’s “Lionheart” as an Oscar nominee for  Best International Feature Film category.

 The Academy ruled that the film did not meet the language requirements for the award since it was largely in English, with only 12 minutes of Nigeria’s Igbo

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences defines an international feature film as “a feature-length motion picture (more than 40 minutes) produced outside the United States with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.”

Lionheart, a film directed, produced and starring Genevieve Nnaji is Nigeria’s first Netflix original film and the first to have been under the consideration of an Oscar. Lionheart had been contending against 92 other films, of which 28 of those, had been directed by women, a record breaking number of entrants.

I watched the movie Lionheart at the beginning of the year and wrote a review which you can read by clicking on the button below:

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements. Award winners are presented with a golden statuette, officially called the “Academy Award of Merit” known popularly as an “Oscar“.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has disqualified Nigeria's "Lionheart" as an Oscar nominee for  Best International Feature Film category.

The Academy Award for Best International Feature Filmbefore the 2020 92nd Academy was known as the Best Foreign Film— was renamed to promote, a positive and inclusive view of filmmaking, and the art of film as a universal experience.

92nd academy award disqualifies Lionheart

They may have changed the title of the award but they did not review the eligibility requirements and for a production to be considered an International Film its dialogue must be predominantly Non-English, but interestingly enough 1983 Italian-Franco-Algerian nominee Le Bal was a dialogue-less motion picture.

The disqualification of Lionheart has raised a number questions including the somewhat discriminatory eligibility requirements, considering for most African countries the official languages are more a function of colonialism; countries former colonies of Non-English speaking countries can easily submit theirs while others former British colonies cannot use their common unifying official language.

In the spirit of inclusiveness, The Academy needs to review their eligibility criteria or maybe even add a few more categories than just simply changing the title of an award and calling it a universal experience.




    1. I was thinking of it from a writing perspective that if these were writing awards would i then have been disqualified for writing in English would it mean I am not being authentically African? Hmmm one wanders

      Liked by 2 people

  1. It doesn’t seem right, they should not have qualifications just for language. Just my opinion, and I’m so glad you write and speak English! You are witty, funny, best sense of humour!! And selfishly I only know English! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was also wondering the same thing, that shouldnt submissions be reviewed first before setting up people for disappointment like this… and also if those are the current eleigibilty criteria then where oh where is a film production such as this one supposed to compete in, since all the other categories require that the motion picture be released in the United States.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m getting riled up just reading this. I’ve read quite a few blog posts that say the Oscars have had their day. They are not representative of any mainstream community and have so many rules that are designed to be exclusionary. Utter trash.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What can we expect? The people who make the rules do not have the same experiences we do. These rules about language fail to acknowledge the incredibly diverse nature of a whole continent. I cannot think of any one African country where there is a single predominant indigenous language. Even our tiny Zimbabwe has upwards of seven, and we barely have 16 million people. Even after independence, we are still not independent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let my people go…

      I am doing research on Africa… Why is it even called Africa and if it is the cradle of mankind as we was taught in history classes… What happened!?????



    1. It must be the influence, I am sure they started off meaning well but with time, power and money, they are no longer simply about rewarding the creative cinematic production

      PS the disqualification actually seems to have worked well in the favour of this movie as it seems to have gained an increased following

      Liked by 1 person

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