LAGOS: Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN) have lauded the nomination of Genevieve Nnaji’s movie “Lion Heart” for the 2020 Oscars in the category of Best International Film.
Leaders of the two Nollywood bodies expressed delight over the feat in separate interviews in Abuja.
Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) had on Wednesday picked ‘Lion Heart’ as the country’s entry to the International Feature Film category of the 2020 Oscars.
The committee announced the selection following a statutory vetting and subsequent voting of entries received from Nigerian filmmakers at home and in the diaspora.
Genevieve is excited the nominated.
The actress, who could not hide her joy, took to her instragram page to react to the nomination and also appreciates her fans for their support.
“The Nigerian Oscar Selection Committee has chosen @lionheartthemovie to represent Nigeria for the 2020 Academy Award for Best International Film!
“This is the first entry ever for Nigeria. It’s an honour to be a part of such a pivotal moment in the history of Nigerian cinema.
“A moment we know will be replicated as our stories continue to resonate with audiences around the world.
“On behalf of the entire LIONHEART team and TEN Productions, we are grateful for this recognition and proud to carry the torch. Thank you all for the love and support thus far,” she wrote.
Also, Prince Alvin Ahmed, Chairman of FCT Chapter of AGN, said the nomination of the film was an indication that Nollywood films were doing well on the global stage.
“This is good news for our industry and it shows that our films are gaining more acceptance around the world.
“The Oscars is an award every filmmaker and actor looks forward to, and we are proud that the work of one of our own has been recognised for such a prestigious event.
“It is an indication that hard work pays, so I urge filmmakers to put in their best, always come up with a good product with a global appeal,” he said.
Mr Emmanuel Eyaba, Chairman of DGN, FCT Chapter, said: “The nomination of ‘Lion Heart’ is an indication that our stories are attracting world attention.
“Africa has good stories, which Nollywood has been on the lead of telling, and this is being recognised by film stakeholders across the world .
“Even the popular blockbuster, Black Panter, is an African story told by Hollywood, and that means the world is interested in African stories.
“Our filmmakers should always look inward and tell our stories to the world, and not the other way round.
“I congratulate Genevieve and the Lion Heart for nomination for the 2020 Oscars,” he said.
Lion Heart, a directorial debut of Genevieve, was released worldwide on Jan. 4, 2019, after a December 2018 theatrical release in Nigeria.
It was premiered at major international film festivals, including Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Marrakech International Festival.
The blockbuster movie has reportedly made Nnaji the first Nollywood billionaire, as Netflix, American subscription-based streaming service provider, reportedly bought the film for 3.8 million dollars.
The movie plot tells the story of a young woman, Adaeze Obiagu (Genevieve Nnaji), who became saddled with the responsibility of running her sick father’s business.
Adaeze’s outstanding business ingenuity and hard work, and her family obligations become a catalyst for drastic change for the once failing business.
The film was shot in Enugu, and features an awesome array of top Nollywood stars, including veterans like Pete Edochie, Kanayo O Kanayo, Onyeka Onwenu and Nkem Owoh.
Others include Steve Eboh, Kalu Ikeagwu and Jemina Osunde, among others.
The nomination also sparked several reactions on the social media where fans commended the acctress for the nomination and some pointed at another movie, ‘King of Boys’ by Kemi Adetiba, as being more qualified.
The film featured some Nigerian movie icons like Pete Edochie, Genevieve Nnaji, Nkem Owoh, and music icon Onyeka Onwenu, etc.
Some Nigerians also expressed mixed feelings about the nomination.
@AyamDamiee said: “Sincerely speaking, I will still rate King of Boys over Lionheart. Yes, Lionheart is not that bad, but it’s overrated. There is nothing really special about the movie.”
@Adunni_Achebe said: “I haven’t seen this king of boys flick but why can’t we just be happy for Genevieve and Lionheart making the list.
Must we compare both? What is wrong with you people? The insatiable desire to always compare stuff needlessly is an early sign of an ‘efulefu’.”
@HitzLuzick tweeted: “King of boys is a nollywood movie that ran for 3 hours and still got the audience yearning for more like 3hours wasn’t such a drag in the first place but aunty kemi kept us glued like top bond, class!”
@obynofranc tweeted, “Nigerian producers will do anything to pay influencers to discredit Lionheart and bring up King of Boys. Sorry, Genevieve Nnaji said what she said. You people make up fake box office gross and she has blacklisted your award shows. Keep crying.”
@The__Oluchime said, “Most of the people who are crying that King of Boys should have been submitted for the Oscars instead of Lion Heart are just low-key bitter. The fact that a movie is full of action or interesting doesn’t make it Oscar worthy. Most of the movies that win Oscars are even dry, to be honest.”
@obi_Nwosu tweeted: “I love Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’, i love king of boys, i love Chief Daddy. Nigeria can submit only one movie for the 2020 Oscars. Lionheart was picked, let us all support Genny.”