Nigeria’s Oscars Dream Squashed as NOSC Halts Plans for 94th Academy Awards
By Vanessa Obioha
Nigeria’s dream of winning an Oscar was again crushed following the announcement by the Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) for the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) that this year’s entries did not meet the eligibility rules.
Chairperson of NOSC, Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi in a letter to the Academy, expressed regret that the Committee could not continue the selection process for this season, citing eligibility issues of films received as major concern.
“After a series of deliberations by the Committee members, we regret to announce that there won’t be submission of film to represent the country for the 94th Academy Awards. This is due to the fact that the films received so far for screening failed the eligibility rule test set by the Academy,” she wrote.
Last September, NOSC called on Nigerian filmmakers to submit their films for the next edition of the Award scheme. Nigerian films are eligible to participate in the International Feature Film (IFF) category which recognises a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains 50% or more of non-English dialogue.
The 94th Academy Awards requires that films submitted must meet other criteria, including accurate English subtitles, streaming or theatrical release for at least seven consecutive days in Nigeria, between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021.
This will be the third time the hope for an Oscar is dashed. In 2019, the Academy rejected Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart for not meeting the requirements. Last year however brought a flicker of hope when ‘The Milkmaid’ being ratified by the Executive Committee of the IFF, passed the eligibility rule test before dropping from the first shortlist category.
Optimistic that Nigeria will still achieve the desired status, Anyaene-Abonyi stated that “The Committee is committed to ensuring that the film which would eventually represent the country at the 94th Academy Awards in the International Feature Film (IFF) category meets all eligibility rules and technical requirements for the competition.”
She noted that Nigerian filmmakers needed to learn more about the Academy rules, hence, the NOSC will be engaging practitioners in a series of training.
The 2022 Oscars is scheduled for March 27, 2022.