The Executive Committee for the International Feature Film (IFF) category of the Oscars has confirmed the eligibility of Nigeria’s official submission, “The Milkmaid”, among other contenders for the 93rd Academy Awards.
The Academy released a list of eligible films from 93 countries in the IFF category on Thursday.
The Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) had submitted “The Milkmaid” to the Academy in December 2020.
The official acceptance of the film by the Academy is a first-time feat for Nigeria at the Oscars, having disqualified “Lionheart”, the country’s first submission in 2019 for not meeting the non-English dialogue criteria.
This led to the controversy on whether or not Nigerian pidgin should not be considered a local language.
Although the Oscars has since reviewed the rule, giving approval for dialogues in pidgin, ‘The Milkmaid’, shot with Hausa, Fulfulde, and Arabic dialogues appears to have been made with the original Academy rules in mind and had not left anything to chance.
An international feature film, according to the Oscars, is “a feature-length motion picture (more than 40 minutes) produced outside the United States with a predominantly (more than 50%) non-English dialogue track.
The first shortlist of 15 films in the IFF category will be announced on February 9, 2021. Another shortlist is expected to be released in March, ahead of the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony on April 25, 2021.
Reacting to the official acceptance of “The Milkmaid” by the Academy, Chairperson of the NOSC, Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi, said it is heart-warming that the decision of the NOSC has been ratified by the Executive Committee of the IFF.
She also noted that the feat underscores the NOSC’s strict adherence to the rules of the biggest film awards scheme in the world.
Written, produced, and directed by Desmond Ovbiagele, “The Milkmaid” is a Hausa language-based thriller on insurgency, especially as it affects women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Inspired by the image on Nigeria’s 10 Naira note, the film tells the story of a Fulani milkmaid who confronts extremists in a rural African community, in a quest to locate her missing sister, and how efforts to recapture her disrupted past prove complicated.
Since 1948, 11 Italian films have won the Oscar in the International Feature Film category. A South Korean movie won an Oscar in this category for the first time with ‘Parasite’ in 2020.
Check out the ‘The Milkmaid’ trailer below
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