Nigeria’s first-ever submission for best international feature Oscar consideration, the comedy “Lionheart,” has been disqualified by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for having too much dialogue in English.
Directed by and starring Genevieve Nnaji — who has been called the Julia Roberts of Nigeria — “Lionheart” has earned strong reviews. But the film, which is currently streaming on Netflix, is mostly in English, running afoul of an academy rule that entries in the freshly renamed international feature film category must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.” All but roughly 11 minutes of the 95-minute film — about a woman trying to keep her father’s company afloat in a male-dominated world — are in English.
“Lionheart” was one of 10 African films officially submitted for Oscar consideration this year, a record for the continent. With the disqualification, the number of films in contention for the award has dropped from 93 to 92. The film is still eligible to be considered in other Oscar categories.
The academy’s decision, which was communicated via email to Oscar voters, was first reported by The Wrap.