As Africa anticipates Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) ceremony slated for May 24, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, there are forward-looking assessments, stemming from feats earlier attained by some of the films in competition, or better still, a guess work that is based on familiarity with some of the filmmakers and their proficiencies.
Of Good Report and The Forgotten Kingdom both from South Africa have shown strength of dominance. These two flicks will contend with Accident (Nigeria), Potomanto (Ghana), and Children of Troumaron (Mauritius) for the Best Film diadem. In this year’s edition of AMAA, the director of the movie Of Good Report, Jamil X.T Quebeka, will also contend with countryman, Andrew Mudge, for The Forgotten Kingdom; Nigeria’s Teco Benson, for Accident; Ghanaian Shirley Frimpong Manso for Potomanto and Mauritius’ Harrikrishna and Sharvan Anenden for Children of Troumaron. Expectation for Of Good Report is high, considering that it has earned the highest number of nominations, with not less than 13 nods. This record is followed by The Forgotten Kingdom and Potomanto with about nine nominations each, while Accident and another Nigerian film, Apaye, also got about six nods each.
Whereas Nigerian filmmakers have met stiff competition in the areas of the Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematographer, Best Sound and Best Editing among others, the country’s actors have done well as role interpreters, as recorded by AMAA in the last 10 years. Only in rare cases have Nigerian actors been beaten in their categories. One of such exceptional situations was recorded last year, when South African actress, Florence Masbe beat Nigeria’s Rita Dominic,
For this year, the battle for the Best Actress tiara is among Vinaya Sungkur – The Children of Troumaron; Patience Ozokwo – After the Proposal; Marie Humbert – Potomanto; Barbara Soky – Brothers Keeper; and Lee-Ann van Rooi – Of Good Report. Patience Ozokwo may have played more movie roles than the other actresses in this category put together, if she is eventually beaten, it may be on the strength of the character played by her contemporaries in this category. For example, Of Good Report is particularly a strong film, whose verve is reflected by all cast members.
At the level of the Best Actor this year, Zengo Ngqobe – Forgotten Kingdom will be slugging it out with Kanayo Kanayo – Apaye; Mothusi Magano – Of Good Report; Joseph Benjamin – Murder at Prime Suites; Adjatey Annan – Potomanto; and Majid Michel – Brothers Keeper. This category is a combination of great films and great actors. And it won’t be out of place to say the jury may experience a tough time, deciding a winner.
With notable Nigerian lead characters like Desmond Elliot (Finding Mercy) and Yomi Fash-Lanso (Omo Elemosho) being listed in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category, the bar for this class comes with great expectation, as these two Nigerians engage three others; Thapelo Mofekeng for Felix, a feature film debut by Roberta Durrant, Ghanaian Aniekan Iyoho for Potomanto, and South African Tshamano Sebe for the controversial Of Good Report.
Indeed, it is not just the support male actors that will experience a keen contest, AMAA 2014 award for Best Actress in a Leading Role is also pitching Nigerian ‘A-listers’ with a few actresses from other African countries. The category has Uche Nnadili for B for Boy; Linda Sokhulu for Felix; Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha for Accident; Clarion Chukwura for Apaye, Joselyn Dumas for Northern Affair, while Lagos Cougar, a multiple supporting act film has heavy weights like Uche Jombo, Rodriquez, Monalisa Chinda and Daniella Okeke fighting for the same slot.
Interestingly, Tope Tedela who won Best Actor at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) has been nominated in AMAA’s Best Young/ Promising Actor for the same film, A Mile From Home. As junior as this category is, compared to the AMVCA offering, a ‘win’ will be just right for the young actor here, considering the clout of AMAA, rather than to lose it to fellow contestants such as Evelyn Galle Ansah (Good Old Days: For the Love of AA), Petronella Tshuma (Of Good Report), Kitty Phillips (The Children of Troumatron) and Shawn Faqua (Lagos Cougar).
The fray, this year appears stiff, and interestingly, two categories, Efere Ozako Award for Best Short Film and Ousmane Sembene Award for Best Film in an African Language, have been named after these late film industry heroes of Nigerian and Senegalese origins.
While Ousmane Sembene was touted as father of African cinema, the death of Ozako also created a vacuum which is yet to be filled. He was a legal luminary who was sensitive to the business opportunities in Nollywood and pursued it through free legal support, counseling, and mobilization of industry practitioners through his annual lecture, Wetin Lawyers Dey Do Sef, For Entertainment Industry. Contesting Efere Ozako’s category are Haunted Soul – Kenya, Siriya Mtungi – Tanzania, Dialemi – Gabon, New Horizon – Nigeria, Nandy l’orpheline – Mali, Living Funeral – Nigeria, and Phindile’s Heart – South Africa.In the Ousmane Sembene category, The forgotten Kingdom – South Africa will take on B for Boy – Nigeria; Omo Elemosho – Nigeria; Onye Ozi – Nigeria; and Ni Sisi – Kenya.
It is also noteworthy that on the flip side, one category will not produce a winner. The AMAA Jury, it is said, will not give an award for Best Film by an African Living Abroad, due to the low quality of films received in that category.
Nominations in other categories include: Best Animation (The Hare and the Lion – Burkina Faso; Thank God it’s Friday – Morocco; Leila – Nigeria; Khumba – South Africa; and The Brats and Toy Thief – Mozambique); Best Documentary (Hamu Beya- The Sand Fishers – Mali; Potraits of a Lone Farmer – Nigeria/Denmark; Kushaya Ingagasi – South Africa; Daughters of the Niger Delta – Nigeria; and Sincerely Ethiopia – Ethiopia); Best Diaspora Short (Passage – Bahamas; Heaven – USA; Tickle Me Rich – Trinidad and Tobago; and Red – USA); Best Diaspora Documentary (Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China – USA/CANADA; Freedom Summer – USA; No Bois Man, No Frad – Trinidad and Tobago; and Through the Lens Darkly : Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People – USA).
Others are Best Diaspora Feature (Tula The Revolt – Curacao; AZU – Venezuela; Kingston Paradise – Jamaica; and Retrieval – USA); Achievement in Production Design (Northern Affair – Ghana; Of Good Report – South Africa; Ni Sisi – Kenya; Good Old Days: Love of AA – Ghana; and Apaye – Nigeria); Achievement in Costume Design (Good Old Days: Love of AA – Ghana; Apaye – Nigeria: Omo Elemosho – Nigeria; Ni Sisi – Kenya; and The Forgotten Kingdom – South Africa); Achievement in Make-Up (A Mile From Home – Nigeria; Apaye – Nigeria; Once Upon A Road Trip – South Africa; Felista Fable – Uganda; and Potomanto –Ghana); Achievement in Sound Track (Once Upon A Road Trip- South Africa; Onye Ozi– Nigeria; Felix; Of Good Report– South Africa; and Potomanto– Ghana); Achievement in Visual Effect (A Mile From Home, Omo Elemosho, Secret Room, Ni Sisi, and Of Good Report); Achievement in Sound (Felix, Northern Affair, Nothing For Mahala, Of Good Report, and The Forgotten Kingdom); Achievement in Cinematography (Once Upon A Road Trip, Good Old Days: Love of AA, Of Good Report, The Forgotten Kingdom, and The Children of Troumaron); Achievement in Editing (Of Good Report, Accident, Once Upon A Road Trip, Potomanto, and Felix); Achievement in Screenplay (B For Boy, Of Good Report, Accident, Potomanto, and Felix); Bayelsa State Government Endowed Award for Best Nigerian Film (Apaye, B For Boy, Accident, Murder at Prime Suites, and Omo Elemosho); Best Child Actor (Tobe Oboli – Brothers Keeper; Lebohang Ntsane – Forgotten Kingdom; and Hlayani Junior Mabasa – Felix); Best First Feature Film By A Director (Roberta Durrant – Felix;Chika Anadu – B for Boy; Andrew Mudge – Forgotten Kingdom; Harrikrishna & Sharvan Anenden – The Children of Troumaron; Dilman Dila – Felista’s Fable and Joyce Mhango Chavula – No More Tears); Best Director (Harrikrishna & Sharvan Anenden – Children of Troumaron (Mauritius); Shirley Frimpong Manso – Potomanto (Ghana); Andrew Mudge – The Forgotten Kingdom (South Africa); Jamil X.T Quebeka – Of Good Report (South Africa); and Teco Benson – Accident (Nigeria)).
Every category has got stiff competitions, who would be crowned eventually?