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Sneak Peek Into Nigeria’s Official Oscars 2021 Submission

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The annual Oscars Academy Awards is the movie industry’s most glamorous event. Stars grace the red carpet in their best attire. Getting an Oscars nomination is a dream for every movie producer. The movie ‘The Milkmaid’ has been selected by Nigeria’s Oscars’ board to represent the country on the global scene. Consequently, the movie will be competing with others from around the world for the prestigious award.

The Significance of the Oscars

Oscars award is the brainchild of Louis B. Mayer, the head of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (MGM). It was first held on May 16, 1929. The winner of the award gets a golden statue. The 24-karat gold plated golden statue is 84cm tall and weighs 3.8kg. This symbol is made of bronze and plated with 24-carat gold.

This momentous event awards outstanding actors/actresses, directors, producers, and other contributors in the movie industry. To win an Oscar is no small feat. A win can change the entire fate of all the participants in the movie. However, movies like The Milkmaid can only participate in a certain category. 

‘The Milkmaid’ learns from the 2020 Oscars Award

This 92nd ceremony was held on February 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. Nigeria’s submission was ‘Lionheart’. Unfortunately, the movie was disqualified for breaching the rule. Films in the international films category must contain predominantly non-English dialogue.

It appears the makers of ‘The Milkmaid’ put this into consideration during the production. According to the judges, Lionheart had only 11 minutes of non-English dialogue. The director of the movie Genevieve Nnaji said,

“[The film] represents the way we speak as Nigerians. [English is] a bridge between the 500+ languages spoken in our country. We did not choose who colonized us.”

The 2021 Oscar Award will take a Different Form

Due to the COVID-19 uncertainties, the 93rd Academy Awards will not hold until April 25th, 2021. This clearly deviates from the static date (28th February) the award holds every year. Also, it will be a virtual event rather than the usual red carpet glamor event. The organizers will likely make sure that the few that will be physically present will stick to COVID-19.

Sneak Peek into “The Milkmaid’

The Milkmaid is a film by Desmond Ovbiagele. It will contest in the ‘International Feature Film’ (IFF) category. The Milkmaid beat 6 films to win the heart of the Nigerian judges during the initial vetting exercise. Some say it is the best Nigerian movie that has ever been made. However, it is certainly a complex movie that touches on powerful themes.

Based on real events, the movie is about the search for a sibling who was captured by militants. Trouble begins with the abduction of Aisha and her younger sister Zainab by insurgents in the middle of a wedding ceremony. Consequently, they make difficult choices while in captivity for survival.

The movie immortalizes the plight of the 276 female students who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014. The lead actress is Anthonieta Kalunta. Maryam Booth plays the role of Kalunta’s sister. Gambo Usman Kona plays the role of the lead male character Dangana. Thus, the film aims to draw attention to the plight of the victims of insurgency and sensitize viewers to pertinent social issues.

The Future of the African Film Industry

Obviously, the African film industry is growing at a commendable rate. However, filmmakers still have hurdles to overcome in order to make the industry profitable. Netflix is showing interest in African productions and investing heavily to that course. Nevertheless, African movies still have lots of potentials for growth. Kenyan filmmaker Zipporah Okoth said,

”The film industry in Africa has been growing in size and in popularity, with Nigeria leading the trend. With more audiences warming up to watch African stories and African filmmakers investing more in independent films, the industry has never seen a better time.”

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