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Oscar Awards Claims No Nigerian Film Eligible, Snubs The King’s Horseman, Anikulapo, King Of Thieves

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For the second time in a row, there will be no Nigerian film to compete for nomination at next year’s Oscar Awards.

The Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) dropped the bad news on Monday.

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Verdict: None of the three films submitted for consideration is eligible to fly the country’s flag to compete in the International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign Film) category.

Chairperson of the committee, Chinese Anyaene-Abonyi said in a statement that in the wisdom of the majority of her members, none of the three films submitted, Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman by the late Biyi Bandele; Kunle Afolayan’s Anikulapo and Femi Adebayo-produced Agesinkole (King of Thieves), is suitable for the prestigious award.

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The statement read in part: “Although the committee received three epic films following its call for submissions in August, it turned out that none of them will advance to the next stage owing to the voting patterns of members.

“Nigerian films had, no doubt, improved significantly as the awareness of the requirements has since grown among filmmakers, and potentially soon, we just might be bringing the award home in succession.

“Our filmmakers are (however) implored to get more acquainted with Oscar-nominated films in the IFF category to achieve the needed international recognition and put our films in its acclaimed level of creative discourse,” she stated.

The NOSC members’ voting recorded at a two-hour session on September 3rd had eight out of the 15 members voting all the three films as “non-eligible” for submission for Oscar considerations.
Five of the members, TCN reliable gathered voted in favour of Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman; while Anikulapo and Agesinkole had one vote each.
It was learnt that for the first time in its operation, voting was made an open affair with members allowed to present justification for their choices.

But it will come as s surprise in the film circuits that majority of the members ruled out the three films on reasons of eligibility.

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According to the Oscar rules, the key criteria for this category says “an international film is defined as a feature-length motion picture (over 40 minutes) produced outside the United States of America and its territories with a predominantly (more than 50%) non-English dialogue track. Animated and documentary feature films are permitted.”

Elesin Oba had a world premiere at the just-concluded Toronto International Film Festival last week and, like Anikulapo, is a Netflix original. Agesinkole on the other hand, aside its impressive theatrical run, is now streaming on Anazon Prime, thereby suggesting some level of technical pass-mark for all the films, in addition to their predominant non-English dialogue.

TCN reliable learnt that the voting and discussion among the NOSC members were intense. It was gathered that the five members that voted Elesin Oba thought 2023 Oscard awards could be Nigeria’s year with three things in favour of the film produced by EbonyLife Films.

They thought with the film being an adaptation of Prof. Wole Soyinka’s novel (Death and the King’s horseman) which was instrumental to his Nobel award in literature in 1996, coupled with the emotional currency that could be tapped from the death of Biyi Bandele, as the director, the film could put up a good showing at global circuits.

Furthermore, members who rooted for the film are said to be of the opinion that with its Executive Producer being Mo Abudu, the CEO of EbonyLife Studios, no other person stands a better chance of pushing the film through the required lobbies and International connection than her.

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Our reporter also learnt that when it became obvious that the eight people who voted for ‘non-eligible’ would stall the chances of Nigeria having an entry, a few members allegedly offered to change their votes but the rule of the committee was against it.

With this development, it means Nigeria has only managed to present a film for Oscars’ consideration only once when Desmond Ovbiageli’s ‘The Milkmaid’ was selected in 2020, but failed to make it to the nomination stage.

Recall that Nigeria’s entry in 2019, Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’ was disqualified by the Academy after it was submitted by the NOSC.

The committee had in June increased its membership to 15 when it added the following people: film directors Stephanie Linus and Keneth Gyang, as well as actors John Njamah and Meg Otanwa.

In 2021, actress Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and director Izu Ojukwu joined the NOSC as voting members.

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According to the committee, the growing list of members is to bring people of diverse creative portfolios into the dynamics of selecting the very best from Nigeria for a highly competitive international awards scheme like the Oscars.

The committee is headed by the director of 2010 movie ‘Ije’, Anyaene-Abonyi, with other members being filmmakers Mahmood Ali-Balogun; Mildred Okwo; Ego Boyo; Adetokunbo ‘DJ Tee’ Odubawo and Yibo Koko.

Others are Managing Director of FilmOne Entertainment, Moses Babatope; Journslist and film scholar, Dr. Shaibu Husseini and CEO of Legend Box Office, Bruce Ayonote.

Source: TheCultureNewspaper

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Breaking News: Baba Ijesha Bags 16 -Yrs Jail Term Over Child Molestation

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court has convicted the embattled Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju James, alias Baba Ijesha, of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old minor and sentenced to 16years in prison.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, in a two-hour judgement on Thursday, convicted Baba Ijesha of indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault and attempted sexual assault

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Taiwo, however, discharged and acquitted him of count one and count six, which were: sexual assault by penetration and attempted sexual assault by penetration.

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Francis Onwochei, others mourn late film producer, Pa Wale Fanu

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The Nollywood community has been thrown into mourning as one of the best and veteran TV and Film producers in the industry, Wale Fabu, died at the age of 72years.

The CEO of CINECRAFT, Pa Fanu, was born into the Fanu family in Lagos State. His late father was a civil servant who worked with the P & T. He was the third child of his mother and the only one born with the sickle cell anemia.

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He was never given a chance by his doctor to live beyond 20years old but according to him, his survival was a miracle. He managed sickle cell crisis since he was born and for thirteen years, nobody could tell him what the problem was, not even his mother until then.

When he celebrated his 70th birthday on April 21, 2020, the late veteran filmmaker revealed his most cherished wish in life.

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“I have looked forward to my 70th Birthday for a long time,” Fanu once told the media two years before and repeated same in January, 2020.

For those in make-believe industry, Uncle Wale, as he was fondly called, would be dearly missed.

In a long tribute penned for the late veteran, an actor and director, Francis Onwochei, stated that Pa Fadun was a champion discipline and culture of excellence.

“For those who may not know, Uncle Wale as we fondly call him was one of the foremost Nigerian filmmakers. A long standing associate of our dear Tunde Kilani and Lola Fani Kayode.

“He was founder and CEO of Cinekraft , the go-to studio at the time. Beyond post production, Cinekraft was top of the range in grip,tracks,jib,car mount,heavy duty generators and all manner of production equipments. Cinekraft maintained some of the best trained crew with tested experience in celluloid film projects.

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“Uncle Wale’s Cinekraft partnered with LFK to make the hugely impactful “Mirror in the Sun” a few years later I was privileged to star in his film project OWOBLOW directed by Tade Ogidan.sometime in 1993. Uncle Wale Fanu,Tunde Kilani,Lola Fani Kayode and Tade Ogidan had their production offices on the famous Jakande Close in Surulere.

“Uncle Wale Fanu was a sickle cell carrier.Doctors informed that he may not survive after age 30. But he lived up to 72. To friends and close associates he is used to making morbid self-deprecating joke that he was on the brink every day of his life after he was 30.

“He is a champion of discipline and culture of excellence expected of motion picture practitioners,” he wrote.

While also extolling his virtues, Onwochei revealed that aside from being a lover of God and His ministry, Uncle Wale was friendly, supportive and jovial when encountered.

“If you have practiced long enough in the creative industry particularly a back camera operative, you must have encountered the business conscious yet friendly, supportive and jovial Uncle Wale.

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“He was very active in Men’s fellowship of his church in Surulere (often invited me to speak to their young graduates for skill development in the creative sector). May God console and comfort his family for this irreplaceable loss,” he concluded.

The founder of Best of Nollywood Awards, Seun Oloketuyi, wrote: Sad! Wale Fanu passes on!

“Ahhhhhhhh!!!…..this is sad ooohhhh. Rest in peace uncle Wale. Rest in peace,” Bakky Adeoye, a Nollywood movie producer, mourned.

Another movie producer, Temitope Duker, wrote: Good night Uncle Fanu.

Yinka Quadri, a veteran movie actor, wrote: May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.

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The late filmmaker once submitted:

Presently, people ask me how I managed to survive but the more they ask me that question, the more I feel for my mother how she managed not to know what my problem was.

Each time, this crisis comes, the only thing I cry is hot water. I don’t know gives that insight. I have nothing to hide and I don’t pretend, I’m 100 per cent well. No, I’m strengthened to tell people that I’m a sickler.

One of the residual thing caused by the sickle cell was my damaged hip of which medical experts both in and out of the country advised that I shouldn’t touch. The American Surgeon I met before 40 said, do not do it. But, when I can no longer work to earn money, I should come back, it will be done.

None of my parents told how I contracted this problem. I’ve never heard it from any of them when they were alive. Probably I contracted it from both of them. But, I never had the chance to think of how I became an SS.

The first friend I had in Lagos was SS. And he died two years after we knew each other. There is something peculiar about SS patients and that is, it is very easy to tell if an individual is SS. If this condition gives me another twenty years,

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I will continue to do what I’m doing. I still drive myself. I’m only praying that God should strengthen me to work harder in finding solution to it.

May his soul rest in peace.

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