Canada's Oscar Entry 'Funny Boy' Disqualified for Too Much English Dialogue

Funny Boy by Deepa Mehta
ARRAY Releasing

Ava DuVernay's ARRAY Releasing sold Deepa Mehta's Sri Lanka-set drama to Netflix as it had expected to compete in the best international feature category at the Academy Awards.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has disqualified Deepa Mehta's Funny Boy, Canada's entry for best international feature Oscar consideration, for having too much dialogue in English.

"Although we were disappointed when informed by the Academy, we are excited to extend our ongoing support for Funny Boy as the journey to the Oscars continues,” Christa Dickenson, executive director of Telefilm Canada, said in a statement on Friday.

Telefilm, which submits Canada's contender at the Academy, said Funny Boy has now been submitted for consideration in Oscar's best picture and general entry categories.

"We were surprised that the film was not able to compete in the Academy’s international feature category, but then were equally surprised and more than thrilled that Telefilm decided to support the submission of the film for best picture and other categories at the Academy Awards," Mehta said in her own statement.

Shot on location in Sri Lanka and set in the 1970s and '80s, Funny Boy portrays a young boy named Arjie growing up as political tensions escalate to a boiling point between the minority Tamils and the majority Sinhalese. He comes of age in a society and family that does not embrace differences outside of societal norms.

Funny Boy is produced by David Hamilton and Hussain Amarshi. Ava DuVernay's ARRAY Releasing sold the Canadian indie to Netflix.

Funny Boy, which stars Brandon Ingram, Nimmi Harasgama, Ali Kazmi, Agam Darshi and Arush Nand, also bypassed movie theaters in Canada as it bowed on the CBC network in early December.