The Film Blog: 8 African films are contending for the Foreign Language Oscar. Not one is Nigerian

We’re not sure how exactly we feel about this – disappointed, broken-hearted or upbeat about the near future.

Yes, the Academy Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars is not without its own controversies and deficiencies but a shot at a nomination in one of its most criticised yet crucial categories would have been a game changer for Nollywood.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that 92 countries submitted films for consideration for the Foreign Language category. Now that’s 7 countries more than last year’s 85. Of all 92, a paltry eight of those submissions came from Africa and none of those eight is Nigerian. Not one!

South Africa, Algeria, Senegal, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Tunisia and Egypt are now contending to make the final five nominations for the 2018 Oscars. Now according to Oscar rules, the movies that make the cut have to be in another language that isn’t English – essentially why it’s called Foreign Language.

Herein lies Nollywood’s problem. The largest percentage of our best movies are in English and the ones in other languages have yet to match up to the quality expected for this level of recognition. Of course we’re not suggesting that producers and directors go on a wild goose chase, but it will be worth it if quality filmmaking overrides every other purpose.

The 2018 Oscars is a closed chapter. Now let’s gear up for 2019, shall we?

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