NOSC Chair accuses Mo Abudu of inducing members of the committee in more unfolding Oscars drama

After weeks of internal conflict, the Nigeria Official Selection Committee (NOSC) has maintained its decision not to enter the International Feature Film (IFF) award at the 2023 Oscars.

Following the NOSC’s decision that no film met the eligibility criteria, the 15-member committee, chaired by Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi, faced criticism from critics who were unconvinced that the three films the committee had voted on—Kunle Afolayan’s Aníkúlápó, Biyi Bandele’s Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman, and Adebayo Tijani & Tope Adebayo did not meet the required criteria.

In a leaked video recorded on Thursday, October 20, 2022, the committee voted 9-6 in favour of “protecting” the initial votes of September 3, 2022. Members of the 15-member committee who voted against include Mahmood Ali-Balogun, the committee’s Vice Chairperson, Mildred Okwo, Shaibu Husseini, Ego Boyo, Moses Babatope, and Kenneth Gyang.

Here’s what you need to know

The Academy recently weighed in on the crisis, extending its submission deadline to allow the committee members to reconvene and possibly to revote. In the long deleted ‘leaked’ video, a number of shocking allegations of bribery and intense lobbying for ‘Elesin Oba’ were sighted as major reasons for the current unrest.

AMPAS had granted the NOSC a one-week extension to reconvene, a grace that was to expire on October 21.

NOSC maintained its stance on not submitting an entry but said the committee would issue an official statement to communicate this to be public.

The NOSC has since been divided against itself, with members arguing that redoing the voting process amounts to asking filmmakers who already voted consciously to backtrack on their judgments about the earlier vetted entries.

Chineze Anyaene, the NOSC chairperson, had previously asked the IFF office if it was required for competing countries to submit a film every year in a letter challenging the AMPAS role in the submission disaster.

NOSC finds it “strange” that IFF would request a reconvening of the committee to redefine its stance after AMPAS said that it does not meddle in the outcome of voting processes at the country level, according to the chairperson.

This is not the first time the NOSC has declared that no entry submitted to them is qualified to compete in the IFF.

After making great inroads with ‘Milkmaid’ in 2021 and being pulled from the first shortlist, Nigeria failed to submit a film for the 2022 edition, claiming that none of its selections were good enough.

Following the uproar that accompanied NOSC’s judgment, three committee members—culture and cinema journalist Shaibu Husseini, Kenneth Gyang, and filmmaker Mildred Okwo—resigned, casting more doubt on the committee’s conclusion.

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