Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’ becomes Nigeria’s first-ever Oscar entry
The Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) announced it as the country’s submission to the ‘International Feature Film’ category of award — 13 months after the critically acclaimed film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
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The announcement comes shortly after NOSC had recently commenced a statutory vetting and subsequent voting of entries received from Nigerian filmmakers within the country and in the diaspora.
Since the 12-man committee was inaugurated in 2014, this would be the first time a movie from Nigeria would be making it to the Oscars as previous entries received by NOSC have not met the basic criteria to be enlisted.
“Filmmakers are gradually taking the Oscar rules into consideration, and I have no doubt that it is going to be more competitive, going forward,” Chineze Anyaene, Nollywood film producer and director who chairs the committee, said.
“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.”
‘Lionhaert’, produced by Chinny Onwugbenu and directed by Nnaji, was released worldwide on January 4, 2019, and acquired on September 7, 2018, as the first Netflix original film produced in Nigeria.
Aside from Nnaji, those who participated in film are Pete Edochie, 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).
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The 92nd Academy Awards will take place on February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, US.