Academy disqualifies Nigeria’s Lionheart entry for Oscar 2020

Genevieve Nnaji Lionheart

The Academy has disqualified Nigeria’s Lionheart from the Oscar race in the Best International Feature Film category, dropping the number of films competing for the award to 92 from what had been a record 93 entries.

The Academy announced the disqualification of Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart to voters in the category in an email on Monday.


The Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) had on October 2 picked the movie, as the first film ever submitted to the Oscars by Nigeria

However, after viewing the movie, the Academy’s International Feature Film Award Executive Committee said it violates its rule that entries in the category must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.”

One other film, Afghanistan’s Hava, Maryam, Ayesha had been deemed ineligible before the list of qualifying films was announced. It was denied a spot on the roster of contenders over questions about the legitimacy of the Afghan committee that submitted it.

The film was scheduled to screen for Academy voters in the international category on Wednesday in a double bill with the Honduran entry, “Blood, Passion, and Coffee.”

That film will now screen by itself at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

Frontrunners in the category include South Korea’s Parasite, Spain’s Pain and Glory and France’s Les Miserables.


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), 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.