Nigerian Oscar Submission Lionheart Disqualified for Award Contention

So here’s another frustrating story of the Oscars. Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart, which was the submitted entry for Nigeria, has now been disqualified from contention for having too much English. Somewhere around ten percent of the film is in the Igbo language, while the rest of the run time uses English. Lionheart was set to be Nigeria’s first Oscar entry, but it was apparently not vetted by the time the officially listing was revealed.

Selma director Ava DuVernay had this to say:

What’s interesting is that this is the first year in which the Academy has named the category International Feature Film from the previously-titled Foreign-Language Film. Even though the title was changed, it would appear the eligibility did not. We won’t hear of the official longlist until December 16, but I would assume this ruling won’t change at that time.

I personally think that it’s bullshit, especially after the title change, to disqualify this film. I’m not sure of all the rules that a film needs to have to qualify for International Feature Film, but changing the title seems to indicate that Foreign-Language is not an issue. This is film, and you are punishing them for using English when Nigeria has some English in with the many other languages around.

So what do you think? Should Lionheart be allowed to compete for Best International Feature Film? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

Official US Trailer for A Wrinkle in Time is Big!

So I read A Wrinkle in Time as a child. I don’t recall reading the sequel, but I remember fondly the wild and trippy original book from Madeleine L’Engle. I remember watching the truly disappointing television adaptation that Disney released years ago. Lastly, I remember the feeling of excitement I felt when Ava DuVernay was announced as the director of the big-screen attempt due out in 2018. Now, we have the Official US Trailer for A Wrinkle in Time. It’s a doozy.

The trailer showcases the film’s plot nicely without really delving into a lot of character backstory. The mythology of this series is thick and dense and the trailer does a fine enough job breaking down the beats.

The film is a story of a young girl, Meg, who goes out in search of her missing scientist father, played by Chris Pine. She does so with the aid of three supreme and powerful beings.

I’m happy the film didn’t give too much away. The mystery and wonder of the film should be left to the viewing experience, and it definitely excited me more to see the actual film, especially with a director like Ava DuVernay at the helm. DuVernay gave us the tremendously engaging and thoughtful films Selma and 13th, so a Disney fantasy film seems like a very interesting next step for her.

What worries me, though, is the vibes I got for the film after watching the trailer. Not a “Bad Film” vibe, but the trailer’s visual landscape and tone reminded me of John Carter, Tomorrowland, and The BFG, all films that were live-action fantasies from Disney, and all three were tankers at the box office. I would like to see franchise potential from A Wrinkle in Time, but its marketing is going to have to hit homers all the way to release day in order to do that.

So what do you think? Are you excited for A Wrinkle in Time? Did you read the original source material and did you enjoy it? Let me know/Drop a comment below!

 

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

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[#2015oscardeathrace] Selma (2014)

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Director: Ava DuVernay

Cast: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Andre Holland, Tessa Thompson, Giovanni Ribisi, Lorraine Toussaint, Stephen James, Wendell Pierce, Common, Alessandro Nivola, Keith Stanfield, Cuba Gooding Jr., Dylan Baker, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey

Screenplay: Paul Webb

128 mins. Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief language.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Motion Picture of the Year [Awards Not Yet Announced]
  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song (“Glory” by Common, John Legend) [Awards Not Yet Announced]

 

Selma is the story of a key moment in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr (David Oyelowo, Interstellar, A Most Violent Year): the fight for the right to vote. King has tries to get help from President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson, Batman Begins, The Grand Budapest Hotel), but to no avail. His wife, Coretta (Carmen Ejogo, TV’s Zero Hour, The Purge: Anarchy), would hope to keep him out of harm’s way. But in Selma, Alabama, a woman named Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey, The Color Purple, The Butler) can’t even get registered to vote. King takes his civil rights movement to Selma in hopes of swaying Governor George Wallace (Tim Roth, TV’s Lie to Me, Pulp Fiction) to let them vote.

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While the film Selma isn’t perfect, it does contain some of the more perfect casting and performance work of the past year. David Oyelowo is the spitting visage of the late Dr. King. He has the look, he has the voice, and he has the mannerisms down to a science. Tom Wilkinson plays the former President filled with self-doubt and delusion. Rapper Common (TV’s Hell on Wheels, Smokin’ Aces) gives one of his best roles as James Bevel, as does Wendell Pierce (TV’s The Wire, Parker) in the position of Reverand Hosea Williams. We also get some great turns from some major Hollywood players, like Martin Sheen and Dylan Baker (Spider-Man 2, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues), in small roles to elevate the craft of the other actors to something truly great.

Director Ava DuVernay’s camera is more stoic than static, offering what feels more like a live docu-drama than a sweeping picture, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it did mess with the flow slightly.

I really enjoyed the song “Glory” from Common and John Legend that plays over the closing credits. It displays a plethora of African-American cultural music from the time of Dr. King to present day.

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Ava DuVernay’s Selma is a film that must be watched, if only for the powerful messages it conveys. I honestly did not know as much about this facet of the Civil Rights Movement, in particular the events in Selma, Alabama, and so I found the film engaging and shocking at times, and definitely worth your time.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

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