The 2023 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA) might’ve come and gone, but everyone is still talking about the fashion moments and awards that went to the wrong “African filmmakers”.
It’s important to note that the award is mostly fan-voted, so in the end, it’s a popularity contest. If people don’t vote for their fave, there’s a high chance they won’t win. That said, as someone who watched almost 80% of the films nominated and awarded, here’s my hot take.
Best Actress in a Drama (Movie/TV Series)
Who Won: Osas Ighodaro for Man of God
Who Should’ve Won: Bimbo Ademoye for Anikulapo or Ini Edo for Shanty Town
No award shocked the audience more than Osas Ighodaro’s Best Actress in a Drama win for Man of God. The actress picked up her second consecutive win in this category after winning in 2022 for Rattlesnake. While Osas has established herself as a movie star, this Best Actress win is a reach. Bimbo Ademoye’s arch as Queen Arolake in Anikulapo had more meat. I mean, this look alone has become an iconic meme:
Then there’s Ini Edo’s long-awaited return to form in Shanty Town, taking up dual roles and giving us one of her best performances in decades.
Shanty Town and Anikulapo could be better projects, but these women’s performances made them watchable. I can’t say the same for Osas Ighodaro, or Man of God, which happens to be one of the worst movies Netflix has ever released — and Chief Daddy 2 exists.
Best Actor in a Drama (Movie/TV Series)
Source: Prime Video
Who Won: Tobi Bakre for Brotherhood
Who Should’ve Won: Blossom Chukwujekwu for The Trade or Chidi Mokeme for Shanty Town
Tobi Bakre’s performance in Brotherhood is a masterclass in carrying a film on your back and making it your own. Breaking out of the “They just cast BBNaija housemates for clout” mould, Tobi proved to audiences that he’s not just a bankable name slapped across a movie for marketing. Knowing all this, I was actually stressed because I knew two other actors who deserved the award for giving the best performances Nollywood has seen in a long time.
No one can talk about TV shows this year without mentioning Chidi Mokeme’s terrifying turn as Scar in Shanty Town. Reminding us that no one does it better than the foundational members of Nollywood, Chidi completely morphed into his character, commanding every scene and frame he appeared in. Like Sola Sobowale’s Eniola Badmus, he didn’t just make us hate the villain he created; he made us curious to know more and understand how someone could get to that point of no return. Scar will go down in history as one of Nollywood’s most iconic villains.
Source: Prime Video
Like Chidi Mokeme, Blossom Chukwujekwu completely shocked audiences with his performance in Jade Osiberu’s The Trade. Another well-crafted villain, Blossom leaves everything on the screen, scaring and making us laugh at the same time. While the heavy Igbo accent might’ve sounded forced from some of his co-stars, with Blossom it sounded natural, like it’s the only way he’s spoken since birth. As an actor who’d shown great potential but was never offered a role he could sink his teeth into, this felt like Blossom’s moment.
By the way, why wasn’t Kunle Remi on the nomination list?
Best Online Social Content Creator
Source: Africa Magic
Who Won: Elozonam and KieKie for Back From the Future
Who Should’ve Won: Bimbo Ademoye for Iya Barakat Teropi Secxxion
In a different world, Bimbo Ademoye should’ve been cradling multiple AMVCA statues at Saturday’s ceremony. Her online alter ego, Iya Barakat, was first introduced to audiences as one of the many characters created to market her many endorsements. However, Iya Barakat quickly won over an audience of loyal followers with each video, making way for the smash hit, Iya Barakat Teropi Secxxion. The series is hilarious AF, with everyone from Falz to Jemima Osunde making cameos.
Although Elozonam created an exciting project with Back from the Future, neither the show nor the episode with KieKie carries the same level of humour or genuine heart as Iya Barakat Teropi Secxxion. Iya Barakat is the Ted Lasso to Bimbo Ademoye’s Jason Sudeikis, and it totally deserved this award.
Best Costume Designer
Source: Zikoko Memes
Who Won: Adeola Art Alade for The Real Housewives of Lagos Reunion
Who Should’ve Won: Toyin Ogundeji for Anikulapo
As a Real Housewives of Lagos die-hard stan, it’s killing me to say this, but “What?!” How did RHOL win over Anikulapo in the costume department? I know my girls served during that reunion, but it pales in comparison to the research and intentionality behind the looks in Anikulapo. The intricate detailing of the aso-ofis had me gagging. Anikulapo served cunt in iro and bubas.
Who Won: Sola Dada for Anikulapo
Who Should’ve Won: Sodi Kurubo, Stephanie Dadet and Victor Aghahowa – Diiche (Episode 5)
Kunle Afolayan’s Anikulapo was a major moment for Nollywood. The sheer ambition and scale of the epic made it a subject of conversation months after it was released. However, the fifth episode of Diiche is by far one of the greatest episodes of Nigerian TV ever. Like, no contest.
Providing an interesting backstory that solves a puzzle even the audience wasn’t fully aware of, the Ifeoma Chukwuogo-directed episode takes a simple story that’s been told over and over again in Nollywood, and makes it more impactful for a new generation. If for no other reason, Diiche should’ve taken the award for being a more cohesive story than Anikulapo.
Source: Prime Video
Who Won: Loukman Ali for Brotherhood
Who Should’ve Won: Jade Osiberu for The Trade
Source: Prime Video
Jay-Z once said, “Nobody wins when the family feuds,” and honestly, I get it. This category was hard for me as a fan of both movies and their directors. However, remove the showy stunts, explosions and shootouts on bridges from Brotherhood, and we’ll all agree The Trade had more meat. The pacing, Jade Osiberu’s script, Blossom Chukwujekwu’s acting and the project’s ability to make us root for a serial kidnapper/killer? Chelsea, come on now. The Trade deserved more love at the AMVCAs, and Jade deserved a Best Director trophy, especially considering that this film was shot back in 2019.