Lion heart was directed by Genevieve Nnaji, has been eliminated from the Best International Feature Film category.
The rules for this category specify: “The recording of the original dialogue track as well as the completed picture must be predominantly in a language or languages other than English. Accurate, legible English-language subtitles are required.”
“To @TheAcademy, you disqualified Nigeria’s first-ever submission for Best International Feature because its in English,” DuVernay wrote. “But English is the official language of Nigeria. Are you barring this country from ever competing for an Oscar in its official language?”
Nnaji, who also plays the lead role in Lionheart, thanked DuVernay for her statement and added: “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.
“It’s no different to how French connects communities in former French colonies. We did not choose who colonized us. As ever, this film and many like it, is proudly Nigerian.”