5 Film Critics on the Best Nollywood Acting Performances of 2021

December 25, 2021

After a pretty dim 2020 caused by the arrival of a global panini and a general lockdown, Nollywood seems to be getting back on its feet. This year marked the return of massive cinema blockbusters, interesting streaming options that stole our weekends and subtle indie underdogs that might have gone unnoticed by the public. These films came with the good, the bad and the “can rapture happen now?” moments when it came to its actor’s performances. So to wrap up the year, we spoke to five Nollywood critics and enthusiasts on the acting performances that defined Nollywood in 2021

Daniel Okechukwu, Inside Nollywood  – Nonso Bassey in La Femme Anjola 

Nonso Bassey’s turn in La Femme Anjola is proof that singers can be excellent actors too — after all, singing is performing. As the antihero in this Nollywood Noir, he’s both tender and lethal. He gives a thorough leading performance, made more remarkable by the fact that he was going toe to toe with an icon like Rita Dominic. Bassey’s performance doesn’t succumb to Dominic’s, it compliments it. His performance shows an actor who can do it all if he’s pushed — he can be charming, ferocious, naughty and intense. Give him more leading roles. 

Anita Eboigbe, NollywoodAnd – Ijeoma Grace Agu in Swallow

The one good thing that made Kunle Afolayan’s Swallow bearable enough to watch was Ifeoma Grace Agu’s obvious commitment to the role. Agu is not a flashy actress but she transforms into the characters she plays from Taxi Driver to Sylvia and now, Swallow. Her performance helps you get over your disappointment in the way the film turns out. 

Dika Ofoma, Freelance Writer – Nengi Adoki in Juju Stories

As Joy, Nengi Adoki is as sultry as she is menacing (while looking like a deeper life babe). How did she achieve this? In the hands of a different actor, Joy could’ve been over the top, theatrical, but Adoki stays in control and keeps her restrained. Her performance helps with the mystery surrounding the character and there’s something about her eyes that just terrifies you. It is one of the best performances I have ever seen from Nollywood. 

Ikeade Oriade, What Kept Me Up – Adedimeji Lateef in Ayinla 

We can visit any Nollywood set tomorrow to hand this actor his award because I’m sure we’ll find him on every film set. Not a cloned actor, not a double, it’s just Adedimeji Lateef. He is probably the hardest working actor in Nollywood, appearing in at least five major releases of 2021. His performance as the titular character in the critically and commercially successful Ayinla is worthy of being highlighted. 

Wilfred Okiche, Freelance Writer – Jude Akuwudike in Eyimofe 

It’s easy to be skeptical about Jude Akuwudike’s casting as an average low-income Nigerian in Eyimofe (This is My Desire), after all, this is an actor who has an English accent after living and working in the UK for years. However, when you meet his character, your doubts settle over time because he does a wonderful job in the role. The way he works with his face and body, you get to see and feel every emotion the character is navigating on-screen. The best part, his performance is very subtle and non-showy. It’s all very introspective. 

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

July 4, 2018

If you live in Lagos or have paid even just a visit, you should know Lagos traffic well. You just have to eat to distract yourself from the fact that you’re about to die in traffic. Here are some of the things Nigerians have come to recognise as traffic food. Gala and La Casera This […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

May 20, 2022

Nobody will pass off a chance to win an all-expense-paid trip to KENYA with the winner of Nigerian Idol Season 7. So if you are still thinking, dreaming, waiting, or thinking you have enough time, then you are wasting time because this promo is ending on the 7th of June. Do we have your attention? Here’s […]

Recommended Quizzes

September 1, 2021

August is over, and here are some of our best quizzes from August. Enjoy: 1. QUIZ: Only Ajebutters Can Get 10/21 On This Quiz Some people like to form ajepako when they’re really ajebutter. Are you one of them? Let’s find out. 2. QUIZ: Sorry, If You’re Under 25 There’s No Way You Can Pass […]

November 22, 2019

It can be very stressful when you’re trying to find the love of your life, but you only keep meeting people that are exactly like your yeye ex. To help you be more aware of that problem, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know the kind of people you are attracting. Take it to […]

November 30, 2019

With No Nut November FINALLY coming to an end, we’ve decided to mark the torturous month with some more horny content. After quizzes that guessed how many people you’ve slept with, how good you are in bed and who you’ll sleep with next, this one will guess when next you’ll get lucky. Take it to […]

October 30, 2019

2010 was a game-changing one for Nollywood, with our movies making serious cash and getting international acclaim. So, which of these hits released between 2010 and 2019 — from the pace-setting The Wedding Party to the divisive Trip To Jamaica — best suits your personality? Well, that’s what this quiz is here to answer:

More from General

March 10, 2022

Offers opportunity for young changemakers from Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa to join the Global Citizen Fellowship Program for a year-long, full-Time, paid placement International advocacy organisation Global Citizen has today announced that application for the 2022/23 Global Citizen Fellowship Program powered by BeyGOOD is now open until 29th April 2022. Fifteen young African changemakers: […]

March 8, 2022

Triller, the AI-powered, open garden technology platform for creators, has joined #BreakTheBias, the global campaign in honor of  International Women’s Day (#IWD2022) on Tuesday, 8th March.  All Triller platforms will feature stories from 30 incredible women in the music and entertainment industry who are working to end gender bias, along with a specially curated #BreakTheBias […]

March 4, 2022

In view of the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, MTN has announced it will be offering free international calls and SMS to all existing prepaid and postpaid customers, effective immediately. This offer is aimed at supporting customers to stay in touch with their loved ones while eliminating associated International Direct Dialing (IDD) costs due to high […]

March 3, 2022

ASUS has released its new Zenbook 14 Flip OLED (UP5401EA) and Vivobook Pro series (N7600/N7400). Pre-orders are available now. The Zenbook 14 Flip OLED (UP5401EA) is a slim, light and ultra-versatile convertible design equipped with a 4K OLED HDR NanoEdge touchscreen, having a 16:10 aspect ratio to give you a bigger visual workspace. The Asus […]

February 26, 2022

FairMoney Microfinance Bank, a leading fintech firm is currently revotionalizing  the digital banking space in Africa. The firm known for its dominance of micro lending in Nigeria has  transitioned into  a full fledged credit led digital bank. With this new height reached, comes a promise to provide Fair banking for all. FairMoney prides itself as […]

Feature image
February 26, 2022

Ensuring that Valentine’s Day fell within ten-day chocolate marketing period may have been a masterstroke for Ghana’s chocolate marketers. But they were also helped because a campaign launched 15 years ago to encourage local consumption of chocolate is beginning to bear fruit. By Zubaida Mabuno Ismail, bird story agency. “I have run out stock of […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X