Oscars 2023: Nigeria’s Oscars Committee Vote 8-5-1-1 With “No Film is Eligible” as Final Ruling

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No Nigerian movie is an Oscar-worthy Contender, says 8/15 NOSC Members 

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The Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) has confirmed that no Nigerian film will compete in the International Feature Film category at the 2023 Oscar Awards.

This will be the second time this non-submission is happening,  but this time around, no film passed the voting stage carried. The Committee announced that none of the three finalist films are eligible to fully represent the country and compete in the International Feature Film category of the Oscar Awards. 

The three films were; “Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman” by the late Biyi Bandele; Kunle Afolayan’s “Anikulapo” and Femi Adebayo-produced “Agesinkole (King of Thieves)”.

In a statement by the Chairperson of the committee, Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi shares: 

“Although the committee received three epic films following its call for submissions in August, it turned out that none of them will advance to the next stage owing to the voting patterns of members.

Nigerian films have, no doubt, improved significantly as the awareness of the requirements has since grown among filmmakers, and potentially soon, we just might be bringing the award home in succession.

Our filmmakers are (however) implored to get more acquainted with Oscar-nominated films in the IFF(International Feature Film) category to achieve the needed international recognition and put our films in its acclaimed level of creative discourse”

On the 3rd of September, the fifteen NOSC committee members cast their votes for the selection round.

Of these 15 votes, eight votes were ‘Null’, 5 votes were for “Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman”, 1 vote for “Anikulapo”, and 1 vote for “Agesinkole (King of Thieves)”


The Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) is a selection committee for the Oscars category for International Feature Film; it has, in the recent past, submitted two films so far for this category.

The first submission was “Lion Heart ”, which was later dropped due to its predominantly English dialogue.

In 2021, Desmond Obvigele’s The Milkmaid pushed through both the first and second phases of the selection process and repped Nigeria in 2022.

Following the committee’s recent call on Nigerian producers to enter their films for the International Feature Film (IFF) category in the 2023 edition of the Oscars, the committee expanded, going from an 8-member committee to a 15-member committee. 

The general consensus was that the selection committee would better serve the Nigerian industry by supporting the creative discourse of films and filmmakers.

  The voting results of these films by the selection committee, therefore, raise a lot of questions, seeing as “Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman” and “Anikulapo” (yet to be released).

Going by this vote, is the Selection Committee commenting on the execution, quality and creativity of these films?

 According to our insider source familiar with the matter, this decision isn’t final and a certain member of the committee leaked this press release to stall a certain film from getting this nomination. 

Voting Members

The new members of NOSC who joined in 2022 are; Stephanie Linus (Through the Glass, Dry); award-winning filmmaker, Kenneth Gyang (Oloture, Confusion Na Wa); Actor/director, John Njamah (Fuji House of Commotion, Tinsel); and Actress, Meg Otanwa (For Maria).

Omotola Jalade and Izu Ojukwu joined the committee in 2021, while the following had been members since inception, chairman, Audio-Visual Rights Society (AVRS), Mahmood Ali-Balogun; filmmaker/talent manager, Mildred Okwo; veteran actress and filmmaker, Ego Boyo; director and cinematographer, Adetokunbo ‘DJ Tee’ Odubawo; theatre practitioner, Yibo Koko; Managing Director, FilmOne Entertainment, Moses Babatope; academic/culture journalist, Shaibu Husseini, CEO of Legend Box Office, Bruce Ayonote; and the chairperson, Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi.

Key Background

The International Feature Film category is an award category set aside for international films.

According to the Oscar rules, the key criteria for this category says “an international film is defined as a feature-length motion picture (over 40 minutes) produced outside the United States of America and its territories with a predominantly (more than 50%) non-English dialogue track. Animated and documentary feature films are permitted.”

For a film to be ratified to represent a country, it goes through two selection stages, the first stage involves the local committee picking a film that meets the technical and language criteria.

After this pick, the film is then moved to the Oscars Feature Film Selection Committee where it will be assessed based on the criteria. Upon greenlight gotten from the 2nd stage, the film will then be able to represent the country and compete with over 60 countries to win the award. 

Nigeria’s first selection “Lion Heart” got through the first stage but failed the second, The Milkmaid sailed through both stages but this time around, no film made it through the first stage. 

In Summary

 In the case where the Nigerian Official Selection Committee members do not recall this vote, no Nigerian film will be submitted for the Oscars making it a loss for the industry. 

The NOSC has up until October 3rd to make its final decision. SHOCK will keep track of these deliberations and share the final outcome.  See Below for African Submissions

Uganda – Tembele

Tanzania – Tug of War

Tunisia – Under the fig trees 

Thank you for reading Covers the Business of Film/TV and the Biggest Creators in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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  1. I’ll reserve my comments for now but it is obvious that the statement ‘ONE NIGERIA’ is quickly unveiling itself as a facade that it is.

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