AMVCA 2018: Celebrating African Talents 

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Aside from creating an avenue to appreciate Africa’s outstanding talents in the movie industry, the glitz and glamour at the recently held sixth edition of African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award was second to none. Mary Nnah reports

The African Magic Viewers’ Choice Award (AMVCA) has come and gone but the euphoria will linger for a long time to come. Popularly referred to as the African Oscars, the event which took place at the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotel and Suits, Victoria Island, Lagos, was broadcast live on all Africa Magic channels on DStv and Gotv.

The night kicked off with the red carpet about 4pm. Stars stepped out in their various impressive and astonishing attires made by African best designers. After the glitz on the red carpet, it was time for the award proper. In his usual dazzling and hilarious manner, the host of the night, Nigerian on-air-personality, IK Osakioduwa, stepped out on the stage, decked in a well-tailored and very attractive outfit.  He was accompanied by his co-host, South African media personality, Minnie Dlamini-Jones, with whom he thrilled guests and viewers. This is their second year running as hosts of the AMVCAs.

Glitz and Glamour

To celebrate outstanding achievements in the African film and television industry, celebrities and most people who turned up at the event looked magnificent. With the men looking dapper, to the ladies in their ball gowns, high slit dresses, the dramatic and demure, most of them stood out. What really stood out were some of the ball gowns won by the ladies. Meanwhile, particular attention was given to Ex-Big brother Naija housemate; Bambam, who appeared in an all-feathers ball dress, which attracted mixed reactions from social media.

Interestingly, a handful of the celebrities whose attires were flamboyantly made with various ornaments to make them appear extraordinary actually came with helps who held on to the tails of their dresses as they walked around. This was to avoid the dresses sweeping the floor, as well as to prevent other guests from stepping on them. There were also other sensational dresses worn by celebrities, especially the ladies, which amazed the guests. In all, it was indeed an occasion where celebrities let their hair down for the night.  However while many got praises for the attires they wore, many others got knocks.

The Show

First, IK took time to explain the aim of the AMVCAs to an audience that was already awaiting the outcome of night in great anticipation. According to him, AMVCA is an annual event by Multichoice and Africa Magic, which recognises and honours film and television talents across the African continent. Winners often emerge through votes by members of the public.

Tagged, Africa’s premiere television and film industry event of the year, the AMVCA, which debuted in 2013, is the biggest celebration of film and television talent across Africa. Now, in its sixth edition, the show has grown even bigger with top contenders from across the continent vying for honors in the voting and non-voting categories.

With that brief introduction, the ball was set rolling with the opening performance of the night. It was a dazzling display of a cultural dance from the South-South part of Nigerian. Members of the dance group in their beautifully crafted traditional costumes truly set the tone for the evening’s event, as after that, the very first winner of the night was announced!

Although the Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Abode, was not physically present at the event, a recorded welcome speech was presented on the screen during the event. Surprisingly, Nigerian Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye made an appearance at the event along with the Senator representing Abia South Senatorial district, Enyinnaya Abaribe, among other politicians.

Trust IK, he did not spare Melaye as he jocularly gave him an award for his “11 hours in the wilderness”. IK was obviously making reference to Melaye’s kidnap saga, where he was reportedly kidnapped by unknown gunmen on his way to answer a case in court. The Kogi state senator was said to have been heading to Lokoja from Abuja, when the incident happened, during which he claimed he “spent 11 hours in the wilderness traumatised.”

Another classic moment was when IK suddenly decided to sing to a beautiful lady in the audience on bended knees. The woman’s husband who sat closely to her instinctively got all protective of his wife by wrapping his hands around her shoulders while IK continued with his “love song”.

The Winners

Nollywood movie ‘Tatu’ set the pace as one of the night’s biggest winners. The movie grasped a total of four awards in the Best Sound Editor, Best Lighting Designer Movie/TV Series, Best Make-Up Artist Movie/TV Series, and Best Soundtrack Movies/TV Series categories.

The Industry Merit Award went to Nollywood giant Tunde Kelani. The iconic filmmaker was not around to collect his award but another legend, Segun Odegbami received the award on his behalf.

Screen diva Omotola Ekeinde won best actress AMVCA 2018 in a drama series, in the flick “Alter Ego”, her very first AMVCA while Adekola Odunlade, who won AMVCA 2018 best actor in the comedy ‘A Million Baby’, could not control his outburst. “What I say to this is, when it is your time to shine, or for people to see what you’ve been doing for long, and appreciate you, nobody can block you. Thank you Almighty God, I appreciate all my fans all over the world”, he said. And to show his appreciation, Odunlade prostrated right there on the stage for his numerous fans.

Other winners of the night included Ghanaian actor Adjetey Anang won the Best Actorcategory and Kenyan actress Nyce Wanjeriwon the Best Actress in a Comedy and TV series for her role in ‘Auntie Boss’.

Nigerian actress cum singer and former Big Brother Naija (BBN) Housemate, Bisola Aiyeola got the Trailblazer Award, which came with a brand new car.  Bisola had arrived at the event in a stunning blue dress but eventually, she changed into an eye-catching red gown as she went on stage to rendered, “My Immortal” by Evanescence, a heartfelt tribute song for Nollywood practitioners who had passed on over the years. And this got her a round of applause. And to cap it all, she went home with a car as the winner for the Trailblazer award of the AMVCA 2018 in recognition of her growing impact in the African film and TV space. Bisola was shocked when her name was called as the winner of the Trailblazer award and then she screamed hysterically on the stage as she was handed prototype of the car key she won. “I did not know I was going to win this but I am supper grateful. Thank you Multichoice, I thought I was going to be nominated next year or in two years to come. Thank you, Bisola said as she fought for breath with a look of shock on her face. Also, Jade Osiberuwon the Best Director category for ‘Isoken’.

During an interlude, Falz, Adekunle Gold and Bisola all gave lovely performances but the nonconformist singer, Cobhams Asuquo got a standing ovation for remixing his single ‘One Hit’.  Cobhams performance was hilarious with remixed lyrics like “Lord, give me hit role like Odunlade”. The singer and composer got himself a standing ovation for his performance when he sang his song mentioning names of Nigerian movie stars that he probably admires.

Charles Inojie re-enacted his viral ‘Na dem dey rush us’ skit on stage for the night in less than 10 seconds. Folarin Falana, popularly called Falz went home with the award for Best Supporting Actor in a Movie/TV Series category, his second AMVCA in two years.

The crowning of the night was the announcement of Phoebe Ruguru’s ’18 Hours’ as the Best Overall movie.  The Kenyan movie was produced by Phoebe Ruguru, and directed by Njue Kevin both from Kenyan.

With more than 120 nominations for 27 categories, filmmakers and actors from different African countries including Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria attended the event and it featured heavyweights in the movie industry on the continent.