AMAA 2021: Spotlight on Nollywood’s leading men, women
Nigeria got five spots— three in the category of best actor in a leading role and two in the best actress in a leading role— on the award slate of the 2021 edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). When curtain opens on the prestigious and highly coveted AMAA’s on Sunday, November 28, notable actor Lateef Adedimeji (Ayinla) Jude Akuwudike (Eyimofe), Nonso Bassey (La Femme Anjola), Funke Akindele (Omo Ghetto, The Saga), and Rita Dominic (La Femme Anjola) will be battling for honours in the categories of award for best actor in a leading role and best actress in a leading role respectively with other top acting celebrities from other part of the continent, including Ghana’s Melvin Alusa, Omar Abdi (The Gravedigger’s Wife), David Njavera (Hairareb), Claudine de Groot (Hairareb), Joan Agaba (Stain) and Sarah Alina Grosz- (Black Medusa).
Described by observers as a category with a tough line up, pundits predict that any of these acting personalities from Nigeria look good to clinching the diadem that will undoubtedly mark a career peak for some of them. So who among these acting personalities will do Nollywood proud at the AMAA’s?
Lateef Adedimeji (Ayinla)
NOTABLE actor and leading man in Tunde Kelani’s box office hit Ayinla, Lateef Adedimeji, is in nomination for the best actor in a leading role category of the AMAA’s. It is the lanky actors first nomination at the AMAA’s and pundits agree that Lateef, who started professional acting in 2007, deserves a nomination and a win for his outstanding performance in Ayinla, a movie based on the life and time of the folk singer Ayinla Omoniwura.
A native of Abeokuta in Ogun State who studied Mass Communication at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Lateef has received countless nominations and won a few awards, including City People Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actor of the Year (Yoruba) in 2016, and a nomination for City People Entertainment Award for Most Promising Actor of the Year (Yoruba) in 2015. He received the Best Actor Award for his role in the movie, Kudi Klepto, at the Heritage Award in Atlanta, United States and the Odua Movie Awards in 2014 and 2015 as Best Actor. The same movie also gave him the Best Actor in supporting role at BON Awards, as well as the City People Awards. Lateef needs the AMAA crest to confirm his emerging status in the continent.
Jude Akuwudike (Eyimofe)
ACCOMPLISHED stage and screen actor, Jude Akuwudike, is in nomination for the best actor in a leading role of the AMAA’s for his strong interpretation of the lead role of ‘Mofe’ in GDN Studio’s Eyimofe. This is the first AMAA nomination for Akuwudike and observers are of the view that the actor, who has mostly worked in the United Kingdom on stage and screen, may just get the nod of the AMAA jurors, because he showed stuff and played the role to the hilt.
A Nigerian born actor educated in Britain, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art trained actor has appeared in productions of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre. Jude has worked mostly on stage appearing in several productions for the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company as well as Broadway. Some of his notable appearances for the National Theatre include Not About Nightingales and Moon on a rainbow Shawl.
His first film appearance was in A World Apart, which came shortly after he played Captain Watkin Tench in the 1988 production of Our Country’s Good staged at the Royal Court Theatre. Jude has ridden on the back of these early career productions to feature in a number of film and television productions. He also works as a voice actor.
Nonso Bassey (La Femme Anjola)
SINGER, songwriter, actor and model, Chukwunonso Bassey or Nonso for short, is on the nomination list for the actor in a leading role. The Voice Nigeria Top 8 finalist and star of Africa Magic TV’s Battleground earned the nomination for his role in Mildred Okwo’s well helmed movie, La Femme Anjola. This is Nonso’s first major nomination as an actor and observers are already betting on him to win the award of best actor in a leading role at the AMAA’s.
Born in Calabar to an Igbo father from Imo and an Efik mother from Cross River State, Nonso has more accomplishment as a singer than an actor. He began his professional music career when he was featured on a song, My Dream with VJ Adams and rapper MI in 2015. Next year, he auditioned for The Voice Nigeria where he finished Top 8 at the live shows and was subsequently signed by Universal Music Group.
In 2017, Nonso was cast in the role of Dr Emeka Kalu on Africa Magic’s telenovela, Battleground and in a movie titled Wurukum Roundabout. In April 2019, Bassey released his sophomore single under Universal Music Group Nigeria, a soulful track For You. Nonso needs the AMAA winning to announce his emergence as a dependable actor on the turf
Funke Akindele (Omo Ghetto, the Saga)
POPULAR Nollywood actress Funke Akindele-Bello made the AMAA nomination list for her immersive performance in Nigeria’s current best-selling cinema movie Omo-Ghetto, the Saga. A prolific actress and content producer, Funke deserve a place on the nomination list for showing stuff in Omo Ghetto where she played dual roles.
Indeed, this Ikorodu born Law graduate of the University of Lagos, who endeared herself to producers in Nollywood for the engaging runs she had in the television serial I need To Know, has moved far beyond her post I need to Know efforts. She is currently one of the hottest actresses and producer on the turf raking in credits and award as she runs along.
Born under the horoscope sign Virgo to parents whom she described as ‘very liberal’ and who are both from Ikorudu, in Lagos State, Funke, has proven with her numerous offerings that she is cut out for acting and the business of motion picture production even though she read law. She has received all the major awards that are there to receive, including the Future Award, the Best of Nollywood Awards for best actress, the Afro Hollywood Award, the African Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA) and the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for her effort in the Yoruba comic movie, Jenifa, which she starred in and produced. If she gets the nod of the AMAA juror, it will be double AMAA crest for the actress whose Omo Ghetto has been declared the highest grossing movie of 2020/2021.
Rita Dominic (La Femme Anjola)
A MULTIPLE award winning actress, model, philanthropist and producer, Rita Uchenna Nkem Dominic Nwaturuocha is on the nomination list as leading actress and the co-founder of The Audrey Silva Company (TASC) rightly earned the nomination for her inimitable performance as Anjola in the movie La Femme Anjola as directed by Mildred Okwo. An illustrious member of the Nollywood tribe, Rita a theatre arts graduate of the University of Port Harcourt has won the AMAA for best actress in a leading role in 2012. If she gets this, it will be double for the accomplished actress who has starred in over a hundred movies including The Meeting, Surulere, 76 and The Therapist.