The Academy, Reverse Lionheart's disqualification, Nigeria's first-ever Oscars submission.

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Queen Etonde
Queen Etonde signed this petition

The Academy, home of the Oscars, has recently disqualified Genevieve Nnaji's Lionheart, Nigeria's first-ever submission for Best International Feature because it's in English. Nigeria is a country with an abundantly rich culture and more than 500+ languages, with English being its official language. Despite primarily being in English, Lionheart is every bit Nigerian. Available on Netflix, the movie follows Adaeze who steps up to run the family business-alongside her uncle- when her father falls ill. Adaeze not only has to run the family business, but also prove herself in a male-dominated world. The movie included scenes in the Igbo, Hausa, and Yoruba languages respectively. The Academy has historically been described as outmoded, and has a trend of prioritizing white casts and directors. "To deem [Lionheart] 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"-Damola Durosomo. Lionheart does not deserve to be disqualified. "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"-Damola Durosomo. Lionheart should be promptly reinstated and given a fair chance by the Academy. 

In Addition, we ask that the Academy revisit some of its categories and the rules for eligibility. The Best International Feature Film category should not restrict submissions by sorely on a language basis. There are multiple countries outside the United States with English as their official language. Perhaps the Academy could consider creating two categories, Best Foreign Film and Best International Film.