Nigeria’s hopes of earning its first Oscar nomination were cut short today after the academy disqualified Genevieve Nnaji’s directorial debut, Lionheart from consideration in the Best International Feature Film category, The Wrap reports.
According to the Academy the film does not meet the language requirement necessary for inclusion in the category since it was filmed mostly in English. Despite the film having some Igbo parts, an Academy rule—which states that films must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track” in order to be considered for the category—makes it ineligible.
The Academy explained that, nominees in its Best International Feature Film Category must “have a predominately non-English dialogue track,” and ‘Lionheart’ despite being an unmistakably Nigerian film, doesn’t fit the bill.
The decision comes as a disappointment considering it was Nigeria’s first ever entry to the Oscars and it was one of the record-breaking 29 films out of 93 originally submitted this year that were directed by women. There were a record-breaking 10 films from the continent submitted this year, including Senegal’s Atlantics and Ghana’s Azali.
According to a report from The Wrap, it seems the film may have been disqualified before voters in the Best International Feature Film category ever even got a chance to see it. The film was reportedly supposed to screen for voters on Wednesday, before the news of its disqualification was announced via email on Monday.
To many observers online, the decision further highlights the outmoded ways of the Academy, which has consistently drawn backlash for its prioritization of films with predominantly white casts and directors. Movies from outside of the US and Europe are underrepresented and jumbled into the vague “Best International Feature Film” category. It’s also worth noting that the category was previously called “Best Foreign Language Film,” before it was changed to “Best International Feature Film” earlier this year.
Many have also pointed out that despite Lionheartbeing primarily In English, the film is unmistakably Nigerian. To deem it not culturally-specific enough is to essentially ignore the country’s complex history of colonialism and the fact that many Nigerians speak English as a primary language because of it. In fact, it’s the country’s official language, as writer and editor Britni Danielle pointed out on Twitter.
The Academy’s decision also points to a Western need for cultural productions from elsewhere in the world to fit a certain definition of “foreign” or “exotic” in order to prove their authenticity. It’s almost as if the Academy felt the film’s perceived familiarity invalidated its right to call itself Nigerian.
The news of Lionheart becoming Nigeria’s first Oscar submission was originally met with widespread excitement that is now being dimmed by news of its early disqualification.
Nnaji took to Twitter following the announcement, to respond to the film’s exclusion, writing “I am the director of Lionheart. 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.
In another tweet she added, “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.”
Titanic Superstar, Leonardo DiCaprio Fights To Protect Ghana’s Atewa Forest.
Oscar award-winning actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, has added his voice to calls for the protection of the Atewa Forest as Ghana prepares to commence the first phase of the Sinohydro deal.
The deal will see Ghana’s bauxite reserves in the Atewa Forest mined and traded in a ‘barter’ deal for $2 billion from China, meant to be invested in various developmental projects across the country, particularly roads.
DiCaprio, who is a staunch environmentalist believes that mining in the Forest would put the millions of people and hundreds of “wildlife species” who depend on it “at risk of extinction”
“Ghana’s #Atewa Forest Reserve provides drinking water to 5 million+ people & harbors 100+ wildlife species at risk of extinction. We must prioritize the protection of these irreplaceable places for a healthy planet,” he said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Having founded an environmental organization – Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation – which has been in existence since 1998, it is not surprising that the multiple award-winning actor would take a keen interest in the developments with the Atewa Forest, which has been a raging issue since the deal with China was first announced.
This week, Ghana received the first instalment of the $2 billion deal, initially agreed in 2018 for the country’s bauxite deposits to be leveraged in exchange for the funds.
With the commercial mining of the bauxite set to commence next year, there has been rising agitation from within the country and externally as well, especially from environmental and wildlife conservation groups over the fate of the Atewa Forest, where about 165 million tonnes of bauxite is located.
Back in June, a group of mainly environmental activists marched through the streets of the Ghanaian capital, Accra, eventually presenting a petition to Parliament asking that the deal to mine in the forest be called off.
While the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources at the time, Kweku Asomah Cheremeh promised to “look at the issues they have raised in their petition”, the government still made moves towards implementing the deal as a private firm had been contracted to undertake the confirmatory drilling in the forest.
Several other bodies including A ROCHA Ghana, who have been fierce critics of the Sinohydro deal, the Christian Council of Ghana and the US Forest Service who provided some technical advice have urged the government to consider the potential ramifications of mining in the forest, one of most detrimental being the destruction of the sources of water for about five million people.
The US report stated that: “given the scale, duration, and potential significant and permanent impact of Ghana’s Integrated Bauxite Plan on the Atewa Forest Reserve and water supply of over 5 million people, it is critical to evaluate a range of development and management options (including … alternatives to mining) to protect drinking water and other ecosystem services.”
A group, the Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape, has also threatened to take the matter up to The Hague, adding that turning the location into an “ecotourism attraction” could earn the country much more than the 2 billion being provided by China.
Gerard Butler’s “Has Fallen” Series Could Get Three More Sequels.
The Has Fallen Cinematic Universe is expanding. Yep, the producers of the Gerard Butler-starring franchise have revealed some grand plans for the future, including up to three (!) more feature films and a host of international TV spin-offs…
Against all odds, the film series – which kicked off with Antoine Fuqua's White House-set thriller Olympus Has Fallen back in 2013 – has amassed something of a cult following, with action lovers responding to the unashamedly overblown adventures of Butler's beleaguered secret service agent Mike Banning.
As Deadline reports, series producer Alan Siegel told the American Film Market’s finance conference that the filmmakers are looking at developing a fourth, fifth, and sixth instalment in the series. He also said that they are considering loaning out the franchise rights to international production companies, resulting in a bunch of global TV spin-offs that could feed into the main movie timeline.
“If we do it in India, the star of that could come into…Has Fallen 4," Siegel said. "It could be a symbiotic relationship."
Jeffrey Greenstein, president of Has Fallen production company Millennium Media, also discussed the franchise's move towards a more character-driven story with the franchise's third entry. “We looked at each other on the third one and we thought we couldn’t just blow up another city,” he said, with Siegel reportedly adding: “This time. Maybe next one we will."
The most recent film in the series, the Ric Roman Waugh-directed Angel Has Fallen, was deemed a modest success, taking in $133 million worldwide off a reported $40 million budget and opening at the top of the US box office on its release this summer. The franchise as a whole – including 2016's landmark-destroying London Has Fallen – has amassed over $500 million worldwide. Granted, we're not exactly talking modern blockbuster numbers, but it's still a decent achievement for a franchise of this size.
We'll keep you updated on the Has Fallen-verse as we hear more.
World’s First Porn University Opens In Colombia.
PORN actress Amaranta Hank has just opened the world's first University of Porn. The sex-school offers workshops and conferences which specialise in production, acting and sales of pornographic materials.
The X-rated star originally worked as a journalist, and rose to fame in her home country of Colombia after losing a bet in which she promised to strip naked for a shoot with SOHO magazine if her home football team, Deportivo Cucuta got promoted to the top division.
Following the success from her racy snaps, Hank opted to change careers and hasn't looked back since.
Now she wants to help budding porn producers and actors to develop their careers with her Porn University.
Located in Medellin, Colombia, the first school of the pornographic industry offers 'live practices' with Amaranta professing the best way to learn how to do something is to do it yourself.
A seasoned professional, Amaranta reportedly films racy scenes with up to 12 people in a day and hopes to pass on practical tips in resilience and motivation in her x-rated lectures, as well as show them how to enjoy their work.
Amaranta was inspired after speaking to several people who weren't in the industry about their desire to get a taste of the sexier side of life.
She said, "the idea came after receiving several messages daily from people who confessed to me being tired of their work routine, and their desire to become porn stars or enter the business."
Having come from an established journalism career, Amaranta reportedly struggled with moving into porn originally due to societal pressures and prejudices against sex workers.
Now a champion of self confidence, the Latin actress hopes to instil the same confidence into her students.
“I’ll Love To Feature In A Kumawood Movie. – Actor Yvonne Okoro
Ghanaian Actor, Chinyere Yvonne Okoro has revealed her intentions of featuring in locally produced Ghanaian Akan movie, popularly know as the "Kumawood Movie".
According to 2010 Movie Awards Best Actress winner, though She is willing and ready to play a role in Kumawood movies, Yvonne Okoro wants to be given a good script and good money. She revealed that, no Kumawood producer has invited me to join them.
She also opined Ghanaian actors should be prepared to play roles in different fields and not just limit themselves to English-spoken movies. Kumawood movies are movies dominated by the local dialect and mostly shot in Kumasi.
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