NOSC crisis: Mildred Okwo calls for removal of ‘no film eligible’ from ballot

Filmmaker and member of the Nigeria Official Selection Committee (NOSC) for the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) Mildred Okwo has called for the removal of the controversial ‘no film eligible’ category from the committee’s ballot.

NOSC became divided after it announced in September that it would not submit a film for the International Feature Film category for the 95th Academy Awards.

This move has since caused tension in the NOSC, culminating in the resignation of three members of the Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi-led committee.

Some NOSC members enraged by the turn of events wrote to AMPAS, seeking its intervention to allow them to vote again and submit an entry.

The Academy intervened via a letter dated October 14, asking the committee to reconvene and make a final determination regarding a submission to the International Feature Film category for the 95th Academy Awards.

However, in another letter dated October 16 addressed to the International Feature Film Executive Committee of the Oscars, Anayene-Abonyi requested clarification on whether it was mandatory that countries must submit a film every year.

She also asked if the request came from NOSC vice-chairman Mahmood Ali-Balogun who she said did not copy the NOSC in all his correspondences with the Academy.

Weighing in on the matter in a Twitter thread on Wednesday, Mildred Okwo proposed that the controversial ‘no film eligible’ option be expunged from the committee’s ballot.

The filmmaker also asked the committee to submit one of the entries shortlisted to represent the country in the 2023 Oscars.

She tweeted: “This year, one film got 5 votes as has been released to the press by the Committee. The other 2 films got a vote each while 8 people voted “do not submit”. In my view, those “do not submit” votes should not count as discussed above.

“This year we found that 3 films met eligibility requirements of submitting to the Academy. Instead of receiving a voting ballot that had the name of the 3 films, an additional category was included ‘do not submit’. This is when in my humble opinion our mistake began.

“One of those three films should be submitted this year because the are eligible according to the rules we put out. The committee must come together regardless of any prior disagreements to resolve the issues in the interest of Nigerians.”

“Even I, at that moment did not reason that this was an anomaly. We should have voted for whichever film we wanted out of the 3 films that were eligible to be submitted. Conversely, if you felt all 3 films did not meet artistic standards, then you could have abstained from voting.

“The Academy has given us an opportunity to redeem ourselves and I have asked that “do not submit” not be a part of the ballot. Even though some members do not think we made a mistake in the first place, I am owning up to it,” the La Femme Anjola producer added.