The 2017 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards was a great improvement from previous editions.
The award ceremony saw Izu Ojukwu‘s ’76 cart away the most awards (five), including Best Overall Movie, Best Director and Best Actress.
Nollywood also had a great outing this time around, asstrong contenders from Kenya and South Africa missed out on major categories.
However, some memorable moments from the show are worthy of mention as they portray the shape of things to come in the Nigerian film industry.
Here, PREMIUM TIMES highlights the top five unforgettable moments from the 2017 AMVCA.
1-Chika Okpala’s well-deserved recognition
Chika Okpala a.k.a Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo, an appellation he got from his role as “Chief Zebrudaya” in TV comedy series, New Masquerade,received the AMVCA Industry Merit Award.
The 66-year-old veteran comic actor was recognised for his contribution to the Nigerian film industry. Along with his trophy, he went home with a brand new SUV from GAC Motors.
Receiving his award, the actor joked about finally receiving the E-Y attached to the Member of the Order of the Niger title he received years ago from the Nigerian government.
Mr. Okpala also recognised funnyman, Nkem Owoh, as one of his writers when he was the producer of New Masquerade.
Unfortunately, he forgot to mention the late creator of The New Masquerade, James Iroha, aka Gringory in his acceptance speech. February 28th marked the fifth anniversary of the Mr. Iroha’s death.
2-Ebele Okaro-Onyiuke beats the ‘new school‘ actors
Aside from Rita Dominic who won the AMVCA actress of the year award, Ebele Okaro-Onyiuke was the only veteran actress to bag an award that night.The thespian that is best known for playing motherly roles in Nollywood movies, won the Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her role in Four One Love.
The actress was shocked when she was named the winner. She referred to herself as an “old cargo” winning in this digital dispensation of film-making while receiving her award. But everyone agreed that Aunty Ebele deserved the award.
3-Funke Akindele-Bello’s double win
Funke Akindele won the Best Actress in a Comedy at the 2017 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.
The actress beat Tina Mba – Meet the In-Laws, Uche Jombo – Wives on Strike, Dineo Moeketsi – Mrs Right Guy, Chioma Akpotha – Wives on Strike, Funke Akindele – A Trip to Jamaica and Omoni Oboli – Wives on Strike.
She received a N250, 000 shopping voucher from KONGA. Jennifer’s Diary” also won the Best TV series at the 2017 AMVCA.
Akindele’s win is her second in two consecutive years. She said, “I don’t have a life anymore because of Jennifer’s Diary. I sleep, eat, talk Jennifer and wouldn’t have coped if I didn’t marry my husband, Abdulrasheed Bello.” She dedicated the award to God, Jenivans(‘ her fans) family and crew.
4- Chiedozie ‘Sambasa’ Nzeribe makes history
Grass to grace aptly summarises the story of talented actor, Sambasa Nzeribe. Barely three years after he won the AMVCA in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role as Ghetto in A Soldier’s Story,he was crowned the actor of the year. The actor, who once hawked Fufu, vegetable and puff-puff on the streets of Isolo, beat Richard Mofe-Damijo, Ramsey Nouah, Gregory Ojefua, Olu Jacobs and Femi Jacobs to win award.A shocked Nzeribe received his award saying, “I never thought I would be in the same space with cinema gods, Uncle Olu Jacobs, RMD, I know that it’s with your permission that I win this.” Prostrating, the actor said to the other nominees in his category, “I want to greet you all in a special way.”
5.Somkele Idhalama’s surprise wins
Fast-rising actress, Somkele Idhalama, is 2017 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award Trailblazer.Receiving the award, an emotional Idhalama acknowledged God as the best scriptwriter she has ever met.
“He wrote this into my script to be standing here right now. I have followed the trail of others, but I never thought that this early, I would become a trailblazer,” she added.
Dedicating her win to her husband, mum, sisters and son, she also acknowledged her boss Jim Ovia, who she said allowed her go for the “93 Days” audition while she was working for him. Three of her movies screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival as part of the festival’s city to city spotlight “The Wedding Party,” “The Arbitration,” “93 Days”). Kemi Lala Akindoju, who co-presented the award to Idhalama, won the 2016 Trailblazer award.