For the first time ever, a Nigerian film is advancing to the Oscars and we don’t intend to keep calm about it.
Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’ has been picked by The Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) for the International Feature Film category of the 2020 Oscars. 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.
The movie was selected by a 12-man team which consists of notable Nigeria’s film industry stakeholders of repute. According to them, the film met basic criteria, hence the selection.
“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,” said Chineze Anyaene, Producer and Director of Ije movie and chairwoman of the team.
The announcement was made on Wednesday, following a statutory vetting and subsequent voting of entries received from Nigerian filmmakers at home and in the diaspora.
‘Lionheart’, which is Genevieve’s directorial debut 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).
Members of the NOSC team include; Vice Chairman and Chairman, Audio-Visual Rights Society (AVRS) of Nigeria, Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun, 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.