Nigeria’s ‘The Milkmaid’ Dropped From Oscars Race

by Yinka Akanbi

Nigeria’s official submission to the Oscars in the International Feature Film category, ‘The Milkmaid’, has been dropped from the race.

According to the Academy of Motion Pictures in America, the body that organises the Oscar awards, 15 of the category’s 93 eligible films will advance to the next round of voting for the 93rd Academy Awards before the final nominees are chosen next month.

Academy members from all branches were invited to participate in the preliminary round of voting and must have met a minimum viewing requirement to be eligible to vote in the category.

“It is unfortunate that we (Nigeria) couldn’t make it to the next shortlist, but it was indeed a worthy attempt, and we can only say: Tomorrow is another day.

“It is our belief that Nigeria will come out even stronger next year, and we will continue to count on your support,” Spokesperson of the Nigerian Oscar Selection Committee (NOSC), Victor Akande, said.

However, only two African films – Tunisia’s ‘The Man Who Sold His Skin’ and Ivory Coast’s ‘Night of the Kings’ – made it to the 15-film shortlist.

Other films which made the shortlist include: ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’ (Bosnia and Herzegovina), ‘The Mole Agent’ (Chile), ‘Charlatan’ (Czech Republic), ‘Another Round’ (Denmark), ‘Two of Us’ (France), ‘La Llorona’ (Guatemala), ‘Better Days’ (Hong Kong), ‘Sun Children’ (Iran), ‘I’m No Longer Here’ (Mexico), ‘Hope’ (Norway), ‘Collective’ (Romania), ‘Dear Comrades!’ (Russia), ‘A Sun’ (Taiwan).

Another shortlist is expected to be released in March, ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony on April 25, 2021.

‘The Milkmaid’, which scaled eligibility hurdle, achieved a first-time feat for Nigeria at the Oscars, having disqualified “Lionheart”, the country’s first submission in 2019 on the basis of language.

Written, produced and directed by Desmond Ovbiagele, “The Milkmaid” is a Hausa language-based thriller on insurgency, especially as it affects women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Inspired by the image on Nigeria’s 10 Naira note, the film tells the story of a Fulani milkmaid who confronts extremists in a rural African community, in a quest to locate her missing sister, and how efforts to recapture her disrupted past prove complicated.

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