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Nigerian Pidgin English Now Considered Foreign Language For Oscars

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The Nigeria Official Selection Committee (For the Academy Awards IFF Submissions), on Saturday, announced the approval of Pidgin English by the Academy as a non-English (foreign language) recording dialogue in films.

The Nigerian Pidgin English has been accepted as a foreign language for the Oscars, one of the most prestigious film industry awards.

The Nigeria Official Selection Committee (For the Academy Awards IFF Submissions), on Saturday, announced the approval of Pidgin English by the Academy as a non-English (foreign language) recording dialogue in films.

The organisation, previously known as the Nigeria Oscars Selection Committee, and chaired by filmmaker, Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi, made the disclosure in Lagos.

Anyaene-Abonyi said that as with every submission in the International Feature Category this year, the minutes and percentage of all individual languages in the country-selected film would be required by the Academy.

“In addition, this is in line with the Academy’s rule and definition of an international film as a feature film with a predominantly (more than 50 per cent) non-English dialogue track,” she said in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

Anyaene-Abonyi confirmed that the request for approval started in December 2019, after which she visited the Academy’s office in Los Angeles in February 2020, following a meeting scheduled between herself and representatives of the International Feature Film (IFF) executives.

She added that the outcome of that meeting was wider consultation with the IFF executives; ensuring approval is benchmarked and consistent with their screening matrix.

Anyaene-Abonyi states that since then, she had been having series of conversations with the Academy to secure quicker approval, as the 93rd Oscars Award was already knocking.

“This is a major concern for me. I recall that the NOSC 2019 submission of ‘LionHeart’, was disqualified primarily for not satisfying the language requirement.

“This approval, as secured by NOSC, is a new feat for the industry and it is untrue if any other individual or entity claims such achievement, as this is beyond mere writing to the Academy without knowing the approval intricacies,” she said.

Anyaene-Abonyi added that following the approval, the NOSC might consider re-opening the portal for submission, which was closed at 11.59 p.m. on October 2, to allow over five other filmmakers with Pidgin English films submit.

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