Each year, the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) pushes the envelope. For its fifth edition which held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, the organisers threw in everything to deliver a spectacular show. Although it is still far from being called the apotheosis of Nollywood, AMVCA has certainly laid footprints in the sands of time for others to follow. From the red carpet to attention to time, this year, again, recorded more trumps than flops. Nseobong Okon-Ekong and Vanessa Obioha report

Legs, Legs, Legs Everywhere: It is no news that fashion is a huge part of awards shows and the AMVCA was not left out. This year, the celebrities stormed the red carpet with bold statements. Most of the female celebrities went for the high thigh slit, exposing their legs in different shades-sexy, hairy, long, short, bow, etc. The legs had an eyeful on the red carpet. Somkele Idhalama who won the Trailblazer award was the ‘Queen of High Slits’. Her beautiful designed dress gave her such a regal and confident look. Other celebrities who also rocked the high slit trend include Uche Jumbo and Funke Akindele. Andrea Iyamah and Rita Dominic were outstanding in their dresses, as well.

It was just as important not just to appear, but to be seen to appear well at the AMVCA. Perhaps, this was as good as being a winner or nominee. Many of the stars dressed deliberately to have all eyes focused on them.
The male celebrities have since upped their game. Gentlemen like IK Ogbonna, Ozzy Agu and Richard Mofe Damijo turned more than a few heads in breathtaking outfit.

The Hosts: The show took off on a pleasant note with a soulful performance from Timi Dakolo. This performance was given a lovely character by Bolanle Austen-Peters choreographers dressed in different attires to depict the diverse cultures of the continent, IK Osakioduwa and South African, Minnie Dlamini returned as hosts of the show and wasted no time in pulling their stunts for the night. They did a skit on stage which at first appeared to be unrehearsed until the sexy Ghanaian actor Mawuli Gavor waltzed to the stage shirtless, eliciting screams. IK and Minnie had great synergy on stage with their mimicry and theatrics. Minnie seized the opportunity to campaign against xenophobia while IK dished out witty lines as well as sampled his acting skills.

Acceptance Speeches
One of the most spectacular moments of awards shows are the acceptance speeches made by the winners. This year, it ranged from the effusive like the ear-splitting Rastafarian scream of Perekeme Odon who won the Best Make-up Category with Hakeem for the movie ‘Oloibiri’; to the hyper like Samuel Ajibola (Best Actor in Comedy series) who couldn’t hide the ‘Spiff’ character he is known for in ‘The Johnsons’. Sometimes it was dramatic like David Jones, the winner of the Best Actor in a Drama, who kept gamboling and sniffing on the stage; or like Funke Akindele who mumbled incoherently as she received her second award for the night for her comedy series ‘Jenifa’s Diary’.

There were also the emotional like Pat Egwurumbe’s daughter who screamed ‘Mummy’ on stage as her mother collected the award for the Best Costume Designer for the movie ‘76. Chief Chika Okpala’s (Zebrudaya) acceptance speech when he was given the Lifetime Recognition Award also took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster. He revealed that it was the first time he was given a car while acknowledging those who played a vital role in the comedy drama that brought him to spotlight in the 80s, ‘New Masquerade’, namely Nkem Owoh. There were also the inspirational ones like Somkele Idhalama, the AMVCA Trailblazer of the Year.

She referred to God as the ultimate scriptwriter of her life who still allows her to influence it even if He knows the final destination. And of course Rita Dominic, who won the Best Actress in a Drama Movie/TV Series. She advised that History should be taught in schools as the movie ‘76 opened her eyes to the happenings of the past. There were also the humbling and grateful speeches like that of Sambasa Nzeribe, the winner of the Best Actor in a Drama Movie/TV series.

He appreciated the big contenders in that category: Olu Jacobs, Richard Mofe-Damijo and Ramsey Nouah for allowing him to win by prostrating on the floor. He also expressed his gratitude to individuals and institutions who contributed to his education as well as his career.

Loud Silence from Amstel Malta
Amstel Malta, that brand that had become synonymous with the AMVCA was missing this year. Is the love story over between the two brands? Other sponsors like MTN, GAC Motors, Konga and Top Tea were proudly represented.

Balancing the Old and the New
Many audience members, as well as, the winner of the Best Supporting Actress in a Drama, Movie or TV Series, Ebele Okaro-Onyiuke were shocked at her winning. The dynamic Thespian was the least expected to win the category which boasted of more young bloods. Could it be the organiser’s way of balancing the Best Actor in a Drama, Movie or TV Series, which has over the years been handed to young actors like Tope Tedela, pushing the likes of Ramsey Nouah to the back seat?

More Surprises
Did anyone give Imeh Umoh Bishop in a category featuring the likes of Mike Ezuronye, Bovi Ugboma and Ayo Makun? Well, the Akwa Ibom State born comedian surprised everyone and, perhaps, himself when he came tops as Best Actor in a Comedy. Funke Akindele had herself to beat in the Best Actress in a Comedy category. Although, she won with ‘Jenifa’s Diary’, she was nominated in the same category for her role in ‘A Trip to Jamaica’. Sambasa Nzeribe was clearly overwhelmed when he was announced Best Actor in a Drama.

All About BAP: From the beginning of the show, Bolanle Austen-Peters’ presence was very visible. Her choreographers performed with Timi Dakolo but what impressed the audience more when they performed a mini-broadway show of the Afrobeat Legend, Fela Kuti. Although there were few glitches in the performance, they still entertained the crowd.

The Voice-Over Blunders
The voice-over artiste who reeled out the names of the nominees did a terrible onslaught on the pronunciation of indigenous names. This left a bad taste on the viewers as well as the audience. The organisers could have at least used a Nigerian or a more fluent orator who could pronounce African names correctly.

AMVCA Oscar Moment
No one anticipated this but going by the recent trend in award shows, it was inescapable. Fortunately, the wrong winner was not announced, rather the wrong nominees. Instead of displaying the nominees for the Best Director category, the huge screen on stage reeled out nominees for Best Actor in a Drama, Movie or TV Series.

The Voice Nigeria Contestants Were Brilliant
The AMVCA threw the spotlight on the contestants of The Voice Nigeria. Chike, DNA and A’rese had their golden moments at the awards. A’rese was all angelic as she performed a graveyard song as tribute to departed souls in the movie industry. Chike on his part brought on all the swagger he is known for. His performance was enhanced by the flashy motorcycle on stage. For the upcoming twin artistes DNA, their moment in the spotlight was marred by nervousness. The audience cheered them on nonetheless. Other performers of the night include South African songstress Lira, Waje and Simi.

The Tribute Flop
When paying tribute at award shows, the appropriate medium to depict the memory of the departed souls is a picture, be it a collage or individually displayed. But at the AMVCAs, the screen rolled out names which were not written in bold fonts instead of pictures. This caused a distortion as most members of the audience struggled to read the names displayed on the huge screen.

‘76 is the Number
At the beginning of the show ‘Oloibiri’ seemed to be clinching all the awards. Not a few feared that ‘76 which had the most nominations this year may just end the night without an award. But the historical romance ended up winning five awards (the biggest win of the night) including three out of the ‘Big 4’. It took home awards for Best Actress in a Drama, Movie or TV Series, Best Director, Best Overall Movie, Best Costume Designer and Best Art Director.

Best Comedy Act Winner Samuel Ajibola Introduces ‘Dele Issues’
AMVCA 2017 best comedy act winner (M-NET Recognition Award), Samuel Ajibola, popularly known for his role as Spiff in the TV series ‘The Johnsons’ has announced the release of his upcoming comedy web series titled ‘Dele Issues’ (Daily Issues). The episodes will be released twice every month; the second and last Friday of every month.
The series revolves around the main character, Dele, his daily awkward encounters – causing him to make some decisions, which are sometimes rather ridiculous. The series is laced with satire to make it effortlessly hilarious.