I read all the comments on the Lionheart disqualification. I must confess that everyone is right depending on how you see it. But allow me to have my own perspectives. This is how I see it: most Nigerians are mandated to write TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for university admission into North American schools, even though we study from primary to university levels with English language.
I have not watched Lion Heart, but anyone disqualifying a Nigerian movie, for an award, because it has too much English, is an educated illiterate on the history and culture of Nigeria. Like some good Americans, in Walmart, asking me about my country “Africa”, this Academy move demands a movie, to educate the members, about the world. Lion Heart producers and members, relax, you do not need Oscars to validate anything – Netflix had given the awards that matter!
Technically, North America thinks our “English” is not really English and is a “foreign language”. TOEFL was designed for French, Portuguese, Japanese, etc speakers but Nigerians write it because our “English” for admission purposes is foreign. That Nigerian English is alien to North American universities and they want to confirm we can communicate on English; we have accepted it in Nigeria. I wrote TOEFL to get into the American university system. Yes, I wrote TOEFL because my English was like French, but now claiming, for awards, it is like British English is not fair! You have to be consistent in the world of Academy of Oscars, MIT, Harvard, etc.
Then, for the same system to disqualify a Nigerian movie claiming the language is no more “foreign” but authentic English, even though the same Nigerian English was seen as foreign for admission purpose is double standard. Here, you want to make it heads you win, tails you win. Haba?
It is either our Nigerian English is foreign to North America (we will gladly write TOEFL) and Academy recognizes that status – yes, the Nigerian English is like French or Japanese, making it possible for Lionheart to meet the criteria.
OR the Nigerian English is the authentic American English, and therefore not foreign, meaning that Lionheart does not meet the requirements in the category. If that is so, American schools must waive the TOEFL for all Nigerian students just as they do for British students coming to study in U.S.
Of course, you will say that universities are different from Academy (the Oscars award people). For me, not really – you have to be consistent on how you treat people! Making Lionheart to be seen as a British or American English firm while denying Nigerian students admission for not being British and American-level English users is something I think is unfair.
So ND’s argument is not about the rules of the OSCARS, it is a satire, meant to draw attention to the fact that the same group that is mandated to take TOFEL since English is deemed foreign to them, is now being disqualified because of making a movie in perfectly comprehensible English.
1. Advance your career with Tekedia Mini-MBA (Sept 13 – Dec 6, 2021): 140 global faculty, online, self-paced, $140 (or N50,000 naira). Click and register here.
2. Click to join Tekedia Capital Syndicate and own a piece of Africa’s finest startups with a minimum of $10,000 investment.