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#OSCARS2020: Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’ emerges as Nollywood’s entry, a first for Nigeria



Genevieve Nnaji

The movie titled as ‘Lionheart’ which is the directorial debut of Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji has been selected as the country’s submission to the International Feature Film category of the 2020 Oscars.

The development was announced on Wednesday by the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) after a statutory vetting and subsequent voting of entries received from Nigerian filmmakers at home and in the diaspora.

The team chaired by Chineze Anyaene, with foremost filmmaker and Chairman of Audio-Visual Rights Society (AVRS) of Nigeria, Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun as Vice Chairman, commended the quality of entries received.

According to Anyaene, entries that were received this year showed significant improvements from the previous years.

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“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. Filmmakers are gradually taking the Oscar rules into consideration, and I have no doubt that it is going to be more competitive, going forward,” she said.

Released to worldwide audience on January 4, 2019, after a December 2018 theatrical release in Nigeria, ‘Lionheart’ tells the story of a young woman, Adaeze Obiagu (Genevieve Nnaji), who becomes saddled with the responsibility of running her sick father’s business under the suffocating supervision of an uncle, played by Nkem Owoh.

Since the inauguration of the NOSC in 2014, this is the first time Nigeria is advancing a film to the Oscars, as previous entries received by the committee did not meet basic criteria.

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