The Nigeria Oscars Official Committee (NOSC) Sunday night nominated ‘Mami Wata’ a reimagination of the mythology of a titular mermaid deity in West African folklore which was written and directed by C.J. Obasi for the Oscars.
The mythology, among other things, celebrates the status of womanhood.
NOSC said it selected the film for its relevant theme of women generations being at the forefront of society’s well-being, its unique approach to telling a story of pre and post-colonial African societies, and its technical excellence.
The NOSC voting members include the chairperson Stephanie Linus, the MD of Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) Chidia Maduekwe, the president of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN) Victor Okhai, and actress Omotola Jalade.
Others are the former president of DGN Andy Amenechi, theatre practitioner Yibo Koko, and director Izu Ojukwu.
Also among the voting members are cinematographer Adetokunbo Odubawo, producer Emem Isong, director Dimeji Ajibola, director Jude Idada, costumier Ngozi Okafor, actor John Njamah, and actress Meg Otanwa.
Announcing the selection, Linus said ‘Mami Wata’ becomes NOSC’s first Pidgin English submission to the Oscars.
“I urge filmmakers not to relent in enhancing their skills, and elevate production to global standards,” she added.
“Mami Wata advances in the Oscars race having received the highest votes from the 14-man committee.
“The next stage of the film will be determined by the IFF executive committee.”
Shot on a location in the Republic of Benin, ‘Mami Wata’ tells the story of a beach-side community that must interrogate previously held beliefs when a stranger washes up ashore and further threatens its harmony.
The film, which had its theatrical releases in Nigeria and other countries, won the Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2023 for its vivid black-and-white cinematography.
The 96th Oscars, where the submission is to vie if shortlisted, will take place on March 10, 2024.
The show will air live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.