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Oscars confirms eligibility of Nigeria’s submission, The Milkmaid

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A scene from the film

The Executive Committee for the International Feature Film (IFF) category of the Oscars has confirmed the eligibility of Nigeria’s official submission, The Milkmaid, among other contenders for the 93rd Academy Awards.

The Academy released a list of eligible films from 93 countries in the IFF category Thursday, last week.

The Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) had submitted The Milkmaid to the Academy in December 2020.

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The official acceptance of the film by the Academy is a first-time feat for Nigeria at the Oscars, having disqualified Lionheart, the country’s first submission in 2019 on the basis of language defect.

The first shortlist of 15 films in the IFF category will be announced on February 9, 2021. Another shortlist is expected to be released in March, ahead of the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony on April 25, 2021.

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.

Reacting to the official acceptance of The Milkmaid by the Academy, Chairperson of the NOSC, Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi says, “it is heart-warming that the decision of the NOSC has been ratified by the Executive Committee of the IFF”, noting that “the feat underscores our strict adherence to the rules of the biggest film awards scheme in the world.”

Anyaene-Abonyi says, “Having sailed through the eligibility stage in the IFF’s selection process, there is no looking back for us at the NOSC. I commend the great effort of every member of the committee. This is a job well done. And while we wish “The Milkmaid” and indeed our country further success in the remaining journey towards the 93rd Academy Awards in April.”

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