The organisers of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) better known as Oscars have disqualified ‘Joy’, an Austria’s entry for having too much dialogue in English language.
The movie, written by Sudabeh Mortezai, was among the 92 entries received for the award slated for 2020.
It tells the story of Nigerian sex workers living in Vienna, Austria.
“Joy is a young Nigerian woman caught in the vicious cycle of sex trafficking,” read the synopsis.
“She works the streets to pay off debts to her exploiter, Madame, while supporting her family in Nigeria and hoping for a better life for her little daughter in Vienna.
“As Joy struggles to understand her role in this merciless system of exploitation, she is instructed by Madame to supervise Precious, a teenage girl fresh from Nigeria who is not ready to accept her fate.”
The Hollywood Reporter quoted the Academy to have said that the film, which contains dialogue in a mix of German, English and a pidgin dialect of English, contradicts its rules of international films after it was discovered that a larger percentage of the dialogue was rendered in English.
“As we do every year, the Academy is in the process of reviewing the films submitted for the International Feature Film category to determine whether they meet our eligibility rules,” a spokesperson said.
“The film ‘Joy,’ submitted by Austria, was just reviewed and is ineligible because only 33% of the dialogue is non-English.”
The disqualification comes a few days after ‘Lionheart,’ a movie by Genevive Nnaji, veteran Nigerian actress, was turned down by the Oscars.
The Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) had submitted ‘Lionheart’ to represent the country at the next year event. The movie was however turned down for containing too much English dialogue.
Lionheart’s disqualification also stirred outrage among many Nigerians who noted that English is one of the country’s official tongues as a result of British colonization.
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