This year’s field is now tied with 2017’s as the largest in the category’s history. Snce “Lionheart” was made by actress-turned-director Genevieve Nnaji, its disqualification drops the number of female directors in this year’s race to 28, which is still a category record.
“Lionheart,” in which Nnaji also stars, is partially in the Igbo language of Nigeria. But it is mostly in English, which violates an Academy rule that entries in the category must have “a predominantly non-English dialogue track.”
One other film, Afghanistan’s “Hava, Maryam, Ayesha,” had been deemed ineligible before the list of qualifying films was announced. It was denied a spot on the roster of contenders over questions about the legitimacy of the Afghan committee that submitted it.
“Lionheart,” in which Nnaji plays a woman who tries to keep her father’s struggling company afloat in a male-dominated environment, is currently available on Netflix.
Frontrunners in the category include South Korea’s “Parasite,” Spain’s “Pain and Glory” and France’s “Les Miserables.”