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I have been looking forward to watching the African Magic Viewers’ choice awards (AMVCA) for more than a month now… since the live broadcast of the nominees for this year was aired. So I made sure my schedule was clear, ensured that the humans in my house were properly stuffed with food, before balancing in front of the television, remote in hand, daring anyone to mention watching a football match.
The show started at 4.30pm with the AMVCA red carpet, hosted by Eku Edewor, Nick Mutuma, Helen Paul and Uti Nwachukwu. A lot has been said about the fashion at the AMVCAs, so I won’t bother going into all that again. Besides I’m here for the show itself.
The AMVCA Hosts
What makes the AMVCA one of the best, if not the best show hosted in Nigeria, is the amount of thought and organisation put into it, as well as its timeliness. At exactly 7.00pm the show kicked off with an opening performance by Timi Dakolo (“Headies please does the AMVCA have two heads?!!!” in my mother’s voice). Timi Dakolo is a great singer no doubt, but to be honest I barely remember what he sang, all I remember are those dancers that took the stage with him. Great choreography!
We were immediately after introduced to the hosts of the night, Ik Osakioduwa and Minnie Dlamini, who were hosting the show together for the second time in a row. This year was slightly better than last year, as the chemistry between the two has greatly improved.
However, I still believe the 2015 AMVCA hosted by Ik and Vimbai Mutinhiri had the best combination of hosts, with the jokes effortless and the energy between the two infectious. Ik can generally do no wrong in my eyes hosting wise, but some of the jokes seemed too scripted and although Minnie did try this year to come off as being a bit funny, it did seem forced. I guess with time, she would be able to meet Ik head on, quip for quip like Vimbai did, my fingers are crossed till next year.
The First Awards
After the introductions by Ik and Minnie, a slew of awards were presented. Oloibiri won the first award of the night for best makeup artist, with 76 joining the winning streak with two awards for best costume designer and best art direction.
The first ‘touching’ emotional moment came when the award for best picture editor was presented to Nnodim Chigozie and Paula Peterson for the movie ‘Oloibiri’. Nnodim Chigozie was so overcome with emotions, he couldn’t talk for minutes and kept waving the microphone and grunting in shock. When he finally began to speak, he talked of missing his son’s birth and growth while busy editing the movie, with the camera showing his wife crying in the audience.
Unfortunately, time ran out and He had to be cut off mid speech, which was a recurring theme during the show as the organisers were diligent about making sure everyone stuck to the time allotted. The movie ‘Vaya‘ also got an award for best sound director.
After the first few presentations, Chike, runner up on “The Voice Nigeria” came on stage to perform his new single ‘Fancy U’. As he performed my brother-in-law muttered, “they have stolen Chike from us o”, and I could not help but agree.
If like me, you were a fan of The Voice Nigeria, you would not forget Chike’s rendition of James Arthur’s Roses at the blind auditions or his later rendition of ‘500 miles’ at the live show, which blew us all away. “The boy will sha eat”, a guest in the house quipped back, and I was reminded again of how hard the Nigerian music industry is for artistes not into the usual afrobeat/pop/club banger tunes Nigerians are used to.
After Chike’s performance, it was time for more awards with 93days and Happiness is a four letter word, winning their first awards of the night for best Lighting Designer and best cinematographer respectively. After a quick commercial break, Bolanle Austen-Peters dancers came on stage for a dance routine of Fela Anikulapo- kuti’s ‘Open and close’ and ‘yellow fever’.
I loved the costumes and although the number started out wonderfully, it seemed to drag a little at a point, although I really don’t blame the dancers and singer, Fela is a tough act to copy.
After this, it was time for the Special Recognition Award for Mnet Original Productions. This was my second favourite moment of the night, as I was seriously rooting for ‘The Johnsons’ and was screaming when ‘Spiff’ Samuel Ajibola won best actor in a comedy and ‘The Johnsons’ itself won for best comedy series. I was also glad that Tinsel was recognised. Nine long years of consistent production is no joke after all.
Honouring those gone before
After this Arese, winner of ‘The Voice Nigeria 2016’, and lead actress in ‘Jemeji’ a new original African Magic drama that premiered on African Magic showcase on the 6th of March, 2017, sang a moving number to honour some of the icons of the movie industry that were lost since the inception of the Award show five years ago.
I shed a tear when her song ended with the picture of late actress Bukky Ajayi receiving the 2016 AMVCA Industry Merit Award. I remember crying then, when in a wheelchair on stage, the late thespian, in shock at the standing ovation by the entire audience at the venue, said “You are all standing for me?!!” I’m just so glad she was given that honour during her lifetime, which is another reason why the AMVCA is so dear to my heart. (seriously side eyeing music award shows. Please, honour more of our veterans, and not only young artistes still very much in their prime).
After that, South African singer, The Voice South Africa and The Voice Nigeria guest coach, Lira, gave a powerful vocal rendition, that showed us why she is the first African to perform at an American presidential inauguration.
It was now time for more awards, as the various African indigenous language movies were honoured. The first major shocker of the night came when Michael Ogunlade won Best Soundtrack/Original score for The Encounter, as against fellow nominees Brymo and Banky W. I was rooting for Brymo, but it seems the witches in his village…never mind.
Moving on, I was fully compensated for my pain by Funke Akindele-Bello winning best TV show for Jenifa’s diary. I don’t actively follow the show, but I do love Funke Akindele-Bello and I see her as one of the most hardworking actresses in the industry, she really does deserve this one. She also went on to win Best actress in a comedy, and gave one of the most hilarious acceptance speeches of the night. In fact, I had to watch it again on instagram, to make sure I wasn’t being biased, but it still made me giggle! Lol!
In between awards, DNA twins of The Voice Nigeria, newly signed to Don Jazzy’s Mavin, performed their new single ‘How can’. By the way, kudos to the AMVCA for giving contestants on The Voice Nigeria a platform to remind us, once again of the reason we fell in love with them in the first place, and leaving the more established industry acts to perform at the after party.
Best actor in a comedy
More awards followed, with Imeh Bishop Umeh winning Best actor in a comedy for, ‘The Boss is mine‘. An award well deserved due to his many years in the industry, growing from minor comic roles to more major ones. Which reminds me, Falz and Chigurl who presented this award, were my most hilarious presenters of the night. Chigurl’s shade of Falz, that he was the winner of this award last year, and now this year he was just a ‘mere’ presenter, had all of us watching in tears of mirth! Lol!
Simi came on stage to belt out her hit song, ‘Love don’t care’, after which the winner of the Trailblazer award, Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama was announced. I was so happy for her, as I was rooting for her to win best supporting actress for her role in 93days, which Ebele Okaro Onyuike won for ‘4-1-Love’. Plus, she got a car as well!
The Industry Merit Award
Also receiving a car is this year’s AMVCA Industry Merit Award winner, Chika Okpala. I was so glad to see him honoured, as I remember his portrayal of the funny but down to earth igbo village father in Kunle Afolayan’s Phone swap. And even more awards were called, with Oloibiri winning the best movie West Africa, Kati Kati for East Africa and All about love for Southern Africa.
Waje and Lira then performed their vocally powerful duet, Mountain, and ended the performance with a stand against Xenophobia, which has seen South Africans pitted against Nigerians and other African nationals resulting in violence in recent times.
The Big Four
Finally, it was time for the big four awards of the night. Rita Dominic won best actress in a drama for 76, and although I was happy for her as I’m a fan of her work, I really wish Bimbo Akintola had won this one. She is an amazing actress who has been in the industry forever without being officially recognised, and her performance in 93days was nothing short of spectacular.
Just before the award for best actor was announced, I remember telling everyone watching with me, that it would be better if an unknown actor won, especially when the list of legends nominated for this award, like Ramsey Noah, Richard Mofe Damijo, and Olu Jacobs were called, and we all couldn’t decide who was the better actor.
And so we had the biggest shocker of the night. Sambasa Nzeribe won best actor in a drama for ‘Slow Country’.
You would also remember him as the ‘thief’ from the movie, ‘The Wedding Party’. While giving his acceptance speech, Sambasa Nzeribe was in complete shock, and was shaking. He asked for permission from the ‘legends’ to receive the award, and even postrated flat on the floor, reminiscent of Mr Eazi at an awards show last year, which was greeted with hoots of laughter by the said ‘legends’ and the audience.
76 then went on to complete its domination of the awards show, by carting away the award for Best director and Best overall movie of the year. Adonijah Owiriwa while receiving the award for best overall movie for his movie, 76, made one of the most striking statements of the night. He had produced and acted in 76, while employed with Schlumberger as an engineer, and it had taken a whooping seven years to make with six months spent on location. Wow!
In his words, ‘Victory comes to those who refuse to quit’ and I would never forget those words. Nothing is impossible as long as you are determined to make it happen. With that, the show was brought to an end by the hosts of the night. What a show!
What are your thoughts on the AMVCAs? Have you seen any of the movies nominated, and if you have, what are your thoughts? Did any of your favorites win or lose, and how did you feel? Do let me know in the comment sections. I can’t wait for the next AMVCAs in 2018!