Lionheart Represents The Way We Speak As Nigerians – Genevieve

Photo: Genevieve Nnaji/Twitter

 

Veteran Nollywood Actress, Genevieve Nnaji has reacted to the disqualification of Lionheart by the 2020 Oscars for the Best International Feature film category.

Lionheart which is Nnaji’s first directorial attempt, after over three decades of acting, was selected as Nigeria’s entry by the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC), only to be disqualified for having too much English language dialogue.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Oscar Entry ‘Lionheart’ Disqualified

Nnaji who took to Twitter to express her position on the recent development said the movie represents the way we speak as Nigerians.

She also took out time to respond to a reaction by Ava Marie DuVernay, an American filmmaker and distributor, who had expressed concern over the reason given by The Oscars for disqualifying Lionheart.

“Thank you so much @ava 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. @TheAcademy.”

Nigeria’s Oscar Entry ‘Lionheart’ Disqualified

 

‘Lionheart,’ Genevieve Nnaji’s directorial debut has been disqualified by the Oscars for having too much English dialogue for the Best International Feature category.

The Nollywood movie produced by Chinny Onwugbenu in 2018, was Nigeria’s first-ever submission for the 2020 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

After critical review, the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) picked ‘Lionheart’, which was acquired by Netflix in September 2018, making it the first Netflix original film produced in Nigeria.

RELATED: Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’ Is Nigeria’s Submission For 2020 Oscars

The group announced the selection in October, following a statutory vetting and subsequent voting of entries received from Nigerian filmmakers at home and in the diaspora.

Released worldwide on January 4, 2019, after a December 2018 theatrical release in Nigeria, is Nnaji’s directorial debut.

According to a report by The Wrap, the fact that Lionheart is mostly in English and partly Igbo language breached an Academy rule that entries in the freshly renamed international feature film category must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.”

The disqualification has dropped the number of films in contention for the award from 93 to 92.

Mixed Reactions Trail Lionheart’s Disqualification By Oscars

 

The disqualification of Genevieve Nnaji’s directorial debut ‘Lionheart’ by the 2020 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscars) has been generating reactions from social media users across the globe.

The movie, which is Nigeria’s first-ever submission for the Oscars in the Best International Feature film category, was disqualified prior to screening for Academy voters in the international category on Wednesday.

The majority of fans and celebrities have taken different standpoints on the recent development, while some were critical, some made a joke out of the issue which is the most discussed on twitter.

READ ALSO: Lionheart Represents The Way We Speak As Nigerians – Genevieve

Disqualification, An Eye Opener

While some social media users are not taking the disqualification with a pinch of salt, others are calling on Nigerian producers to pay attention to details and do greater works that will eventually go beyond the screening stage.

David Lammy and a few others questioned the chances of Nigerian films from ever making a name at the Oscars owing to English being regarded as the official language of Nigeria.

Celebrities like Victoria Kimani, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and Victor Asemota were quick to show solidarity and support to Genevieve Nnaji and the entire cast and crew of Lionheart.

The Rule Remains

Some social media users, while lauding the feat Lionheart pulled since its submission and eventual disqualification, explained that the rules are clearly spelled out for the International Feature film category.

A Twitter user, Obed Jefferson posed a question, asking if the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) who picked ‘Lionheart’, failed to read the criteria before nominating the movie.

Nigerians were asked to stop being ignorant about the disqualification and understand the reasons why.

Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’ Is Nigeria’s Submission For 2020 Oscars

 

The Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) has picked Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’ as the country’s submission to the International Feature Film category of the 2020 Oscars.

The group announced the selection on Wednesday, following a statutory vetting and subsequent voting of entries received from Nigerian filmmakers at home and in the diaspora.

Produced by Chinny Onwugbenu, Chichi Nwoko, Genevieve Nnaji, and directed by Genevieve Nnaji, ‘Lionheart’ premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and was acquired on September 7, 2018, as first Netflix original film produced in Nigeria.

The film stars Pete Edochie, Genevieve Nnaji, Nkem Owoh, Onyeka Onwenu, Kanayo .O. Kanayo, Chika Okpala, Kalu Ikeagwu, Sanni Mu’azu, Yakubu Mohammed, Ngozi Ezeonu, Peter Okoye (P-Square) and Chibuzor Azubuike (Phyno).


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Released worldwide on January 4, 2019 after a December 2018 theatrical release in Nigeria, ‘Lionheart’, which is Nnaji’s directorial debut, tells the story of a young woman, Adaeze Obiagu (Genevieve Nnaji), who becomes saddled with the responsibility of running her sick father’s business under the suffocating supervision of an uncle, played by Nkem Owoh.

Adaeze’s competing business instincts and family obligations become a catalyst for drastic change not everyone is ready to embrace.

Since the inauguration of the NOSC in 2014, this is the first time Nigeria is advancing a film to the Oscar, as previous entries received by the committee did not meet basic criteria.
Among the films received this year, the NOSC said it picked ‘Lionheart’ for its considerable shots at the rules.

The 12-man team boasts of notable Nigeria’s film industry stakeholders of international standing.

The team is Chaired by Chineze Anyaene, Producer and Director of ‘Ije’; Nollywood’s remarkable box office earner and foremost filmmaker and Chairman of Audio-Visual Rights Society (AVRS) of Nigeria, Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun as Vice Chairman.

Others include Bruce Ayonote, CEO of Legend Box Office; filmmaker and talent manager, Mildred Okwo; Journalist/Film Critic, Shaibu Husseini; filmmaker/author, Charles Novia; award-winning filmmaker, CJ Obasi; top actor Ramsey Nouah; versatile director and cinematographer, Adetokunbo ‘DJ Tee’ Odubawo; movie producer, Ngozi Okafor; AFRIFF Founder, Chioma Ude and director of Green-White-Green, Abba Makama.

According to Anyaene, entries received this year show significant improvements from the previous years.

“While we cannot say that what we have are the best that Nigeria is capable of producing, it is heart-lifting to know that, from the strength of the entries received this year, we are truly ready for the Oscars. Filmmakers are gradually taking the Oscar rules into consideration, and I have no doubt that it is going to be more competitive, going forward,” she said.

Every year, each country outside the United States is expected to submit one film as long as it’s not primarily in English. Films in pidgin, which must be subtitled like any other language film are also considered under this category.

Formerly called ‘Best Foreign Language Film’, 87 countries vied for the shortlisted slots last year, and from a final five Oscar nominations, ‘Roma’, a Mexican film directed by Alfonso Cuarón picked the honour.

Netflix Acquires Worldwide Rights To Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’

 

Online movie streaming platform, Netflix, has announced that it has acquired the worldwide rights for Nigerian actress, Genevieve Nnaji’s movie, ‘Lionheart’.

Netflix made the announcement in a statement on Friday, saying “Lionheart marks the first Netflix original film from Nigeria”.

Genevieve also confirmed the news via her social media handle.

 

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🤗🥂🎉🇳🇬 #lionheartthemovie #netflixoriginal 🎭 #tiff18

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While she has remained a prominent player in Nigeria’s film industry (Nollywood) with her career spanning over 20 years, in recent years, she has ventured into film production, among other things.

Under her production company, The Entertainment Network (T.E.N.) in collaboration with other partners, she produced her first feature film in 2015, “Road To Yesterday” directed by Ishaya Bako – which has now ushered in her directorial debut, Lionheart.

The movie will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Saturday, September 8, 2018.

Starring herself, (Genevieve) alongside Pete Edochie, Onyeka Onwenu, Nkem Owoh, amongst others, the film is an inspiring drama which addresses issues around family values, succession, and female empowerment.

“It highlights the various challenges faced by women, particularly in male-dominated industries,” Nnaji told Women and Hollywood.