I am happy to say, I am happy to report that I am not an expert, nothing of the sort, an expert I am in fields that are different, but in this I am not. I have watched a thousand or more movies, all shapes, all sizes and in many playhouses, in some that were called fleapits, then there were some nickelodeons, there were movie houses, playhouses and there were a Cineplex or two, often holding on the cinefex when going. Yes, I visited cinema’s from large to small, from Lantaren to Venster, from the original Cinerama where I saw the Cinerama edition of 2001, I have seen many places, yet I am not an expert, perhaps as close as one can get, yet I too was befuddled when Afua Hirsch (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/06/oscard-ban-nollywood-film-lionheart-oscarssowhite-nigerian-film) alerted me to a wicked situation. In Nollywood, where the Holly and Bolly are not found a movie was released. The movie Lionheart is using English; you know the version of American that was heard before July 4th, 1776. These American are sore winners are they not? she used the headline ‘An Oscars ban for a Nigerian film shows the Academy still doesn’t get it on race‘ to alert us to the situation.
Afua got me with one little part of her article: “Directed by and starring the Nollywood titan Genevieve Nnaji, it is a captivating look at family, class, sexism, politics and the texture of life in the Niger delta. It’s both very Nigerian and very relatable for audiences who know nothing about Nigeria” it was not the only part, but that part made me curious of the movie, Nigeria, a place famous for princes and princesses that have access to millions, and they are willing to share it if you can just hand over your bank details. However there is plenty of goods coming from Nigeria, movies was new to me (as far as I know), So when I was informed that “Yet Lionheart has just been disqualified because there is too much English in it” I woke up fast. Now we do know that the US is not really that literate, so for them The Queen’s English might be as far from Yankie Doodle Dandy as Spanish is and they have to make such waves to understand that, that the movie Lionheart “does feature the Igbo language, which millions of people in eastern Nigeria speak“, OK that was new to me, Well I knew that people in Nigeria had their own speak, i just (until now) did not know it was called Igbo. So it has two foreign languages for Americans. So when we see “And this legacy of empire, even though they were once part of it, is what some American institutions don’t seem able to comprehend” we get part of the fix, which is alarming for the movie maker of Lionheart, well, at least it will have a bigger chance at the Bafta this year, so it seems that Lionheart will “the American Academy expects films competing in its “international feature film” category to emphatically not be in English” no matter how much Queens English is in the movie. It does define the term #OscarsSoWhite in a bitter new definition; will the people like Helen Mirren and Simon Pegg unite making that concept into a comedy? Perhaps with Tom Cruise as the director trying to skate on both sides of the fence?
Let’s face it, Simon Pegg can make Paul an American (someone whispered to me that Tom Cruise played Paul in the movie bearing his character name), in that case Nolly can be an American too.
Yet in all seriousness
The quote “The American film establishment is clearly struggling to grasp the basic idea that there are Africans who speak English. Viewers get this: Nollywood box office revenues increased by 36% last year” is a decently first milestone in recognising that American standards are nothing to talk home about, In a stage where American values are given to the Oscars, yet for most movies America is merely 25% to a third of the revenue for most American movies whilst the rest comes from the larger screens all outside of the USA, the overly (or is that overtly) standard is set outside of a beach of values we need to consider movies to be in? I believe that Hollywood needs to reconsider its values, before Nolly and Bolly take Holly for a ride in a convertible and show her exactly where things are at.
It sounds foreboding, but it is not, in this age where games are taking the front of where movies are, the idea that Holly takes a bow and takes the list of settings where the grey areas are addressed. The idea that Hollywood has grey areas is just beyond believe, I mean what would we call Alien? A British, Non-American documentary of Space Exploration? I mean, let’s get real here. The games industry is about to dwarf movies in a major way, it is time for the people en mass to get on board and let’s face it, there is no saying how this goes in the future, so Nollywood could be a presence in gaming soon enough.
So today I am happy that I learned something today, Afua Hirsch taught me that Oscars are not a measurement we should be proud of, perhaps it is the year where stars and viewers decide that Bafta is the way to go when it comes to Cinematographical awards, so to all the Nollies in Wood, Welcome to the Bafta’s (well at least Lionheart).
I look forward to learn more of the Nollywood movies, should be fun after a bland year of American cinematography.