For the Oscars event next year, Genevieve Nnaji’s “Lionheart”, the popular Nollywood movie will compete with 92 movies for the “best international feature” award.
“Lionheart” was premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2019, and joins the 93 films that will be struggling to get their first Oscars on February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, U.S.
The 93 entries for the category ahead of the 92nd Academy Awards is an increase of six new films against the 2019’s award which had 87 submissions for the same category.
From Africa, Genevieve Nnaji’s ‘Lionheart’ is joined by nine other films – Kwanbena Gyansah’s ‘Azali’ from Ghana; Mounia Meddour’s ‘Papicha’ from Algeria; Fawzi Saleh’s ‘Poisonous Roses’ from Egypt; Jan Philipp Weyl’s ‘Running Against the wind’ from Ethiopia; Ravneet Chadha’s ‘Subira’ from Kenya; Maryam Touzani’s ‘Adam’ from Morocco; Mati Diop’s ‘Atlantics’ from Senegal; Jahmil XT Qubeka’s ‘Knuckle City’ from South Africa; and Mohamed Ben Attia’s ‘Dear Son’ from Tunisia.
84 other films are from Americas with 15 submissions, Oceania with 1 submission, Asia with 23 submissions, Europe with 40 submissions, the UK with 1 submission, Malaysia, Honduras, and China with 1 submission each.
Genevieve is definitely making history.
Genevieve Nnaji is a Nigerian actor, producer, and director. She won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005, making her the first actor to win the award. In 2011, she was honoured as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian government for her contribution to Nollywood.
Nnaji was born in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria, and grew up in Lagos. The fourth of eight children, she was raised in a middle-class family; her father worked as an engineer and her mother as a nursery school teacher. She attended Methodist Girls College (Yaba, Lagos), before transferring to the University of Lagos, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in creative arts. While at the university, she began auditioning for acting jobs in Nollywood.
Genevieve inspires many girls and women with her determination when she had her only daughter at the age of seventeen. She was from a strict Catholic family that said she could not get rid of the baby. Keeping and raising a child is one of the biggest decision Genevieve had to make. She had her daughter, Chimebuka Nnaji, and went back to school. Her daughter was mostly taken care of by her mother.
Nnaji has featured in several commercials, include for Pronto (beverage) and Omo detergent. In 2004, she became the “Face of Lux” in Nigeria in a highly lucrative sponsorship deal. In 2008, Nnaji launched the clothing line “St. Genevieve”, which donates its proceeds to charity. In May 2010, she was appointed to be the official “Face of MUD” in Nigeria.
Nnaji has received several awards and nominations for her work, including the Best Actress of the Year award at the 2001 City People Awards and the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the 2005 Africa Movie Academy Awards. In 2019, her movie, LionHeart became the first ever Nigerian film nominated by the Oscars.