Connect with us


Nigeria, & Other African Nations, With Their No Entry For The 86th Academy Awards



Why You Should Buy YouTube Views Cheap

By Adaeze Umolu

31ST October 2013 when we all stayed awake as the nations had their final day to pour in their entries to the 86th Academy Awards, fondly called the Oscars, for the Best Foreign Language Film category.

This year we had four African entries. The nation of Chad entered ‘GriGris’; Egypt entered ‘Winter of Discontent’; Morocco entered Les chevaux de Dieu (Horses of God) and South Africa entered ‘Four Corners’. South Africa has been one of the few consistent African nations but not a lot of noise has been made about Four Corners (their 10th entry so far), a fairly unknown film. Chad’s ‘GriGris’ on the other hand is easily the most successful of these four titles.

This year Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s ‘Grigris’ was entered for the sought after Palme d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival. The film was picked up by both UK and USA film distributors.  Morocco’s ‘God’s Horses’  is equally one to watch out for has it is on the list of 58 films compiled by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association being considered for Golden Globe 2014 nominations in the Best Foreign Language Film category, which has screened for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. No one knows whether it will make the final short list of 5 nominees, until nominations are announced on December 12, 2013. However this nomination has raised further awareness for the film.

Nollywood, Africa’s biggest film industry and the second biggest globally did not have any entry and has never had an entry. Nollywood is lavishly celebrating 20 years, so it is indeed a year of expectation for African Cinema Film Enthusiasts the world over. A year we thought would provide us a debut to the Oscars.

In January this year I wrote a piece after the 85th Oscar nominees were announced.  At the 85th we also had only four African entries and not one of them made the shortlist. I expressed sadness that we were left out and obtained some solace in ‘War Witch’, the entry from Canada about a Congolese child soldier, one of the classic Foreign Films with an African theme. 

‘War Witch’ tells the story of Komona, a young girl who was kidnapped by African rebels at the age of 12 and forced at gunpoint to murder her parents and fight against the government. The film was shot in the Congo with a cast of unknown actors such as star Rachel Mwanza, a newcomer who was discovered on the streets of Kinshasa.  The 85th wasn’t all sad news for African filmmakers as South Africa ‘docu’ – Searching for Sugar Man picked up the award for Best Documentary.

My expectation for a better next time was already fed when I heard Adichie Chimamanda’s Biafara based Novel, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, was been adapted for the big screen. This movie was engaging enough for me to consider it a potential Oscar contender for in 2014. Hailed as Nigeria’s most expensive project, the least they could do was put it forward as a candidate for Nigeria’s foreign film entry for the 86th Oscar. This excitement would fade, unfortunately, as this movie doesn’t even qualify ‘Executive produced’ and produced by British filmmakers – Gail Egan and Andrea Calderwood, starring two British actors as leads – Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor, it wouldn’t qualify as Nigerian’s entry. If the characters spoke predominantly Igbo, as it is after all set in Biafara, then maybe we stood a chance.  Since Nigeria’s most expensive movie had no chance of getting us into the Oscars, let us examine what the criteria for foreign language film are:

Films competing in the Foreign Language Film category must have been first released in the country submitting them during the eligibility period defined by the rules of the Academy, and must have been exhibited for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial movie theater.

Although a film has to be “foreign” (i.e. non-American) in order to be nominated for the Award, it also has to be in a language other than English. Foreign films where the majority of the dialogue is in English cannot qualify for the Foreign Language Film Award

The designation of each country’s official submission has to be done by an organization, jury or committee composed of people from the film industry, whose members’ names must be sent to the Academy. Only one film is accepted from each country.


Based on this model Ace filmmaker Tunde Kelani’s Maami would easily fit into this profile. ‘Most’ of Kunle Afolayan’s movies could easily be contenders and given the way they pick up international awards too. Hausa true-life-themed movie – Blood and Henna, a film inspired by the 1996 Pfizer Clinical Test in Kano, is the sort of film we would also be looking at to represent Nigeria. Frankly any great Yoruba movie, seeing that the boundaries are been pushed these days, would serve as an ideal candidate for this category. The Isong sisters, the dual of Emen Isong and Uduak Isong-Oguamanam coming out with a World-class Efik Movie would not be a bad idea. And now that Obi Emelonye has dabbled into the Igbo movie making business with the launch of his latest flick, Onye Ozi, then the options are limitless for our nation.

Basically, Nigerian filmmakers have the ability to do it, yet again this year we are fed with nothing. It would have been nice if we had ten possible contenders and then the whole process of selecting just one would begin. The very core of this problem is Nigeria doesn’t even have the mechanism in place to select a film and at this stage it would be a good idea to kick start the process for 2015. Other nations who put forward a movie have a system in place that selects the film which bares the nation’s touch to the Oscars.

South Africa goes as far as publicizing a call for entry to filmmakers for their works to be considered for the Oscars. This process is managed by the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) of South Africa who are officially recognized by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to make submissions on behalf of the local film industry. A committee also exists to manage the process more intimately.  Darrell Roodt’s ‘Little One’ which was South Africa’s choice for the 85th Academy Awards was chosen by the South African Academy Awards selection committee, which actually made ‘Little One’  Roodt’s second time on the Oscars stage, after his 2005 nomination of ‘Yesterday’. The selection committee described ‘Little One’ as “a universal story made local,” calling it “a poignant, moving and minimalist narrative which is apologetically South African.” Other considerations could include how well the movie has done internationally especially within film festivals.

This article is not trying to undermine our own awards like the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and other local awards which are very important. But surely if South Africa and Chad can make an entry then Nigeria can very well make one too.  This article is also not canvassing that a movie be made entirely for the eventual process of been put forward as an Oscar ‘rep’ but we already have our colourful indigenous languages so our movies should be equally as brilliant.

For the purposes of this article I should   remind myself about the overall body in Nigeria that could select a movie that truly reflects the nation impartially at the Oscars. I however think no such body exists. Again I may be wrong and maybe one has been established but is dormant. At this stage I will draw my inspiration from outside Cinema, and consider that if ‘Phyno’ and ‘Olamide’ can take Igbo and Yoruba rap music to greater lengths respectively running on the predecessors of rappers, Nigga Raw and DaGrin, then indigenous movies in 2015 could record progress enough for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the  87th Academy Awards.


ADAEZE UMOLU is a writer; African cinema enthusiast;   contributes to AACgo on and other film sites.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Who Will Explain Coronavirus To Buhari?



Coronavirus (COVID-19), an exorable doom, threatens life on the planet. It is exorable because it is conquerable. This explains why world leaders are taking the charge to combat this ominous apocalypse. It is a time for leadership from the fore-end; a time when citizens must hear their leaders speak to them; see them take action, making assurances and fulfilling those promises. The counsel, consolation and firm statement of a leader is imperative at this moment.

In Canada, Justin Trudeau, prime minister, despite being in self-isolation and his wife battling the virus after contracting it at a conference in the UK, is leading the fight against this dreaded disease from the fore. He is providing regular updates of the efforts of his government to roll back this scourge, listening and speaking to citizens.

In a popular broadcast on March 13, Justin spoke to citizens of Canada announcing measures to relieve the financial stress brought on by the pandemic on Canadians.

“We do not want any Canadian to have to worry about whether or not they’re going to be able to pay their rent, whether or not they’re going to be able to buy groceries, or care for their kids or elderly family members. We need to make sure that Canadians have the options and the ability to follow the best public health advice and keep themselves safe,” he said.

In the UK, Boris Johnson, prime minister, leads the struggle against coronavirus. He provides updates, alongside health experts, on the measures his government is taking to tackle the spread of the disease. And in the US, Donald Trump is not shying away from speaking to Americans on the virus.

As a matter of fact, President Muhammadu Buhari’s lapses are often easily dismissed by his supporters or by Nigerians who do not know better. Some of them say, ‘’ Why must the president speak when the minister of health and the NCDC DG are already doing that?” This is a contemptible rationalisation of incompetence. Are they suggesting the president lacks the capacitance to understand the issues?’’

Really, I surmise the president has been walled off the ‘’candid cameras’’ over the years by his handlers – not just now – because he lacks the intellectual propensity to understand and discuss incisive issues. The last presidential media chat he held was in 2015 and it was a woeful outing. Also, his non-choreographed media interviews have been abysmal to say the least.

The truth is the unfiltered Buhari is a vacuously gaffing one. On October 14, 2016, standing beside Angela Merkel, German chancellor, Buhari said his wife, Aisha, ‘’belonged in the kitchen and the other room’’, when he was asked to comment on the first lady’s criticism of his government.

On April 18, 2018, at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London, the president said the young citizens of the country he leads are lazy.

“More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free,” he said during a panel appearance with world leaders at the forum.

In a February 2016 interview with UK Telegraph, Buhari dropped another clanger. He said the young citizens of his country have a knack for criminality and should not be granted asylum in the UK.

With the Buhari experience, it is indubitable that Nigerians must place a high premium on education — not just certificate – in choosing their leaders. The cost of electing leaders who do not have the intellectual grit to understand and handle matters is far too high.

The senate has asked the president to speak to citizens on this threat, and Nigerians are also asking the president to speak to them. This is an abnormality. Citizens must not beg to hear from their president. But because it is Buhari involved here, we have to beg and even excuse the crass inefficiency and vacuity.

Perhaps, the president is still trying to get a hang of it. I think he has ‘’capable handlers’’ who can break it down to him in ABC.

Mr President, speak to your citizens. The words of a leader are more resounding and assuring than the blandishment of proxies.

PS: Let’s follow all health protocol as advised by the NCDC.

• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.

• Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.

• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.

Continue Reading


Sanusi: Once Upon An Emir, By Wole Olaoye



Dethroned Monarch, Sanusi

We are all potential Ex-es: ex-student, ex-director, ex-lecturer, ex-senator, ex-governor, ex-president, ex-oba, ex-emir…. The inimitable Zik famously reminded us when he had a spat with Ukpabi Asika that Ex was an inevitable prefix for any human being as was evidenced by the fact that a certain young man who would someday become an ex-Administrator, was the son of an ex-postmaster!

So, what’s so apocalyptic about Sanusi Lamido Sanusi joining the ranks of ex-potentates? Nothing? Everything! Don’t ever think that bell you are hearing is tolling for the former Emir of Kano. No. It could be signalling the beginning of a comprehensive demystification of traditional rulership by plebeians holding tenured political power. In centuries past, no plebeian messed with the traditional institution. The halo of nobility, the sheer vastness of a prince’s hereditary powers, rights and privileges, made the subject know his place.

Yesterday’s subjects are today’s political sovereign. They make no pretences to sophistication. They load a gun to kill a spider. When you dethrone a monarch and then deprive him of his liberty, forcefully banishing him to a place without electricity and potable water, you are playing god. If it was all a public relations Olympics, the calm dignity with which Sanusi handled the humiliation made people all over the world admire his chutzpa and hand him the gold medal. A

Life and its many puzzles! Why is it that for some men and women, “their sleep is taken away unless they cause some to fall”? What do you do about an ego that knows no satiation? As the Preacher in the Good Book timelessly says, “All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full… The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear content with hearing… there is nothing new under the sun”.

The Yoruba have a poem that says just that. “The horse struts and frets and then dies. Being a veteran walker is no immunity to getting lost. Nothing new under the sun. I’ve seen kings reduced to slaves; and servants who mounted the throne. Haven’t my eyes beheld both river and sea? Haven’t I seen a hunchback on spindly legs, and a midget climbing a ladder to add condiment to the soup pot? Tell me, has anyone ever started a building from the roof?

The new Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, is a cousin of his predecessor. As royal intrigues go, when the dust is settled the sword will be sheathed and brother will embrace brother. That is the way of princes. Eventually, outsiders will realise that all they can ever be in palace politics is outsiders. Our very own Nobel prize winning Kongi was not amused by the scandalous extra-judicial detention of the former emir.

He put the emir’s travail down to his progressive stance: “Emir Sanusi was a one-man EFCC sanitisation squad in the banking system, taking on the powerful corrupters of that institution…. “Most important of all, and most pertinently for the nation, Sanusi was one of the early warning voices against religious extremism whose bitter fruits the nation is currently reaping….

The doors of enlightened society remain wide open to Muhammad Sanusi. As for his current crowing Nemesis, a different kind of gates remain yawning to receive him when, as must, the days of governorship immunity finally come to an end.” Support for Sanusi is not limited to radical voices.

Veteran technocrat Alhaji Ahmed Joda penned a panegyric in support of the ex-emir: “The purpose of this letter to you is not to commiserate with you, because I know that you must have known the likely consequences  of the principled position you have taken. The reality we must face in Northern Nigeria is that the evil forces of feudalism that have kept us in bondage for so long are still there and fighting. You have been the only voice that has been telling us this truth….”

It is easy to kick a man given a pin-fall by fate, or piss on the grave of a fallen warrior. Dead men don’t bite. Real friends show up when you are in life’s valley. Say what you will, I would rather have a friend like Nasir el Rufai when the chips are down. In the midst of all the turmoil, conspiracy theories have surfaced to the effect that the dethronement is but a political sleight-of-hand to propel Sanusi to Nigeria’s presidency in 2023. Caution! Let’s separate the issues. Political succession is totally different from fundamental human rights. Sanusi is not my next president.

My views on power rotation are well documented. The ex-emir will go down in history as a champion for the rights of the poorest of the poor. He advocated for a new Northern Nigeria where old backward practices such as the almajiri system and irresponsible parenting will be abandoned. His was the voice crying out in the desert, lift my people up from the cesspit of penury. The attempt to demonise him after dethronement through various allegations, including one on religious fundamentalism, is dead on arrival. The same fate will befall the vilification of El Rufai on account of his loyalty to Sanusi. Please quote me: Modern challenges can never be resolved with a resort to medieval solutions.

Christopher Hitchens’ Q&A may someday apply to the ex-Kings College boy who’s now an ex-king.

Continue Reading


Sanusi Dethronement: The North Only Beheads The Bearers Of Truth



Emir Sanusi

By Fredrick Nwabufo

Northern Nigeria is prostrate. It is the axis of uglies – banditry, insurgency, kidnapping, diseases, ignorance, and drug abuse. Alas! The region’s elite are aware of the problems, but look away because the disequilibrious status quo sustains them. What is petrifying, however, is that they maul and clobber at anyone who spits the truth in their faces.

I think, this is the mortal sin of Muhammad Sanusi II, emir of Kano – beyond his politics with Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano.

But wait!

The World Bank says 87 percent of Nigeria’s poor are in the north. And that while poverty is plummeting in the south, it is rocketing in the upper region.

READ: Dethroned Sanusi Will Be Under House Arrest – Ganduje’s Aide

“Poverty in the northern regions of the country has been increasing especially in the north-west zone. Almost half of all poor lived in the north-west and the north accounts for 87 percent of all poor in the country in 2016,’’ the Bretton Woods institution said in its report entitled ‘Advancing social protection in a dynamic Nigeria’ in February 2020.

In August, 2019, the federal government revealed that 1,460 people were killed by bandits in seven months. And that the north-west is the worst-hit by this bloody enterprise. The killings have steadied, expanding in proportion and execution in the region.

In his accustomed manner, Sanusi recently vocalised these depressing figures of retrogression in the north – as regards the World Bank report — earning himself praise from progressive Nigerians and reprimand from the usual suspects — those stuck in the cesspit of bigotry.

Also, the gadfly emir of Kano, whom I regard as the John the Baptist of the north for his vociferous condemnation of this status quo, is alone in his advocacy against irresponsible polygamy, Al-majiri and child marriage – practices the northern elite espouse. He is the face of a progressive north; the northerner of the new age.

As a matter of fact, on different occasions he had complained about the northern elite whom he said wanted to silence him for speaking the truth about the region.

‘’Our colleagues and compatriots among the elite do not like statistics. Numbers are disturbing. I recently gave a speech in which I said the north-east and north-west of Nigeria are the poorest parts of the country. This simple statement of fact has generated so much heat; the noise has yet to die down. The response to this speech has been a barrage of personal attacks and insults aimed at silencing any voices that dare shine the light on the society to which we are saying Bring Back our Girls,’’ he said at a lecture held to commemorate the Chibok girls abduction.

READ: Sanusi Breaks Silence After Dethronement As Emir Of Kano (Video)

And I guess they can only take the throne away from him but cannot take away his royalty in the community of decent humans. Really, I believe the emir would rather give up his throne than be gagged by the shareholders of iniquity.

To say the least, Sanusi’s dethroning was not unexpected. Ganduje had always shown his hand in this plot. Really, the emir of Kano never hid his dislike for him. But what is there to like about a governor who was allegedly caught on camera stuffing wads of dollars into his babariga? In the build-up to the 2019 governorship election in the state, the emir was not shy in expressing his disapproval to Ganduje’s candidature.

So, Ganduje, who considers Sanusi a ‘’loud mouth’’, plotted a bitter revenge after he was re-elected. He had moved to remove the emir in 2018 but for the intervention of some ‘’higher powers’’. However, he whittle-down the power of the emir by creating new emirates from his domain. He was not done though. He rustled-up allegations, set up probe panels – all in the desperation to embarrass Sanusi.

But Sanusi was still talking.

Really, one of the most abrasive places to exist is in the circle of non-progressives. You talk different, think different or act different, they will feel threatened. Even when you try to clown around; the aboriginal clowns will still feel threatened because you do not look the part.

I think, Emir Sanusi is light-years away from the people he is dealing with in Kano government. He is needed more at the top echelon of government where he can contribute more meaningfully to the development of Nigeria.

Northern Nigeria is not ready for an emir like Sanusi. He is ahead of his time.

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.

Continue Reading