Nigeria’s first-ever Oscar submission for best international feature film has been disqualified by award organisers, because it is predominantly in english.
Films in this category, formerly best foreign language film, must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track”.
However, the 95-minute film Lionheart is largely in English, with an 11-minute section in the Igbo language.
Ms Genevive Nnaji, who directed and starred in Lionheart, said the film “represents the way we speak as Nigerians”.
She added: “This includes English which acts as a bridge between the 500+ languages spoken in our country and we did not choose who colonised us. As ever, this film and many like it, is proudly Nigerian.”
English is still the official language of Nigeria because of British colonisation, which lasted for nearly a century until independence in 1960.
Lionheart, which is currently streaming on Netflix, is about a Nigerian woman trying to keep her father’s company together in a society dominated by men.