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Spotlight on leading stars of AMAA 2022 nomination grid

By Shaibu Husseini
24 September 2022   |   2:45 am
When the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) holds its award ceremony next month in Lagos, five leading Nollywod actors – Deyemi Okanlawon (Swallow), Akah Nnani (Man of God), Eniola Akinbo

Akah Nnani

When the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) holds its award ceremony next month in Lagos, five leading Nollywod actors – Deyemi Okanlawon (Swallow), Akah Nnani (Man of God), Eniola Akinbo (Swallow), Osa Ighodaro (Man of God), and Daniel Effiong Etim (Jolly Rogers) will be flying Nollywood’s and indeed Nigeria’s flag at the biggest and most prestigious global reward system for filmmakers in the African continent and Diaspora.

Deyemi, Eniola, Akah, Osa and Daniel are the only Nigerian leading men and women nominated in the leading actors and actress categories of the 2022 edition of AMAA. Moviedom salutes these leading Nollywood men and women for making the very competitive nomination list of the leading actors in the continent.

Deyemi Okanlawon (Sanwo)
NOTABLE actor Deyemi Okanlawon made the AMAA 2022 nomination grid. The busy actor may have impressed the AMAA jury with his performance as Sanwo in the Netflix movie Swallow, directed by Kunle Afolayan. Obviously, Deyemi put up a superb performance.

The star of Greg Odutayo’s Beyond Blood interpreted his role as Sanwo delightfully and he kept a steady mien throughout the movie, the first of the three movies that were signed by Kunle Afolayan for Netflix. A film, television, theatre and voice actor, Deyemi showed stuff as an actor and was believably in character.

Best known for his roles in the TV Series Gidi Up, Okanlawon was born in Lagos, studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Lagos and obtained a Certificate in Acting for Film, from the New York Film Academy.

Okanlawon made his feature film debut in the 2010 movie ZR-7. In 2013, he switched careers to focus on acting full-time and has since featured in over 50 films, 8 stage plays and a few commercials.

Movies in his pouch include If Tomorrow Never Comes, No Man’s Land and Biyi Bandele’s Elesin Oba, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Eniola Akinbo aka Niyola (Tolani Ajao)
A Nigerian singer and songwriter, Eniola Akinbo who is popular as Niyola made the AMAA nomination list. It is the singer’s first major industry award nomination since she got her acting break in Swallow.

She revealed shortly after Swallow was released that the movie was her first major run in front of the screen and playing lead in a star-studded movie, popular opinion is that the singer was inspired to pursue a career in music after attending a Funmi Adams concert, did well as Tolani Ajao.

Born in Lagos, Niyola began her music career in 2006 and briefly with eL Dee’s Trybe Music label before she moved on to Make Sum Noise Entertainment. But in 2012, the Me n U (In Da Club), No More and Dem Say singer signed a record deal with Empire Mate and in 2013 she released the single Toh Bad.

Daniel Etim Effiong (Jolly Roger)
FORMER oil and gas industry worker turned actor, Daniel Etim Effiong, made the AMAA nomination list. His delightful interpretation of the role of Brume Idolor in Walter Banger’s emotive movie Jolly Roger earned him a nomination in the leading actor category of the AMAA.

An actor and director who in 2017 directed a five-minute-long short film titled Prey, featuring Tope Tedela and Odenike Odetola, Effiong has grabbed a lot of screen credits. The married actor featured alongside Kenya’s Sarah Hassan and Catherine Kamau Karanja in the 2019 movie Plan B.

Director of the documentary by Beverly Naya titled Skin, the movie Plan B earned Daniel a nomination in the ‘Best Actor in a Comedy category at the 2020 AMVCA. This is his first AMAA nomination and the actor looks forward to hugging the AMAA crest.

Osas Ighodaro (Man of God)
ACTOR, show host, producer and humanitarian, Osas Ighodaro made the AMAA 2022 nomination list. An award-winning actress and a known advocate against the spread of preventable diseases, which led to her founding of the NGO, Joyful Joy Foundation, Ighodaro’s performance as Teju may have caught the attention of the AMAA jurors.

She starred alongside Samuel (Aka Nnani) who forsakes his harsh religious upbringing to live his own life, but his soul remains caught between the world and the faith he left behind.

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism and dual minor degrees in Entrepreneurship and Theatre, Osas who holds a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Acting from the Actor’s Studio Drama School at Pace University, has continued to grab the leading role in Nollywood since she stepped up a little over a decade ago.

Best known for her work in Rattlesnake, Smart Money Woman, Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, Cadillac Records & ‘And Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns among many projects, Osas was recently awarded ‘Best Actress in a Drama and ‘Best Dressed’ awards at the 2022 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. In 2021, she was named ‘Woman of the Year in Entertainment at the HER Network Awards.

Osas was also named the ‘Highest Grossing Box Office Actress’ in Nollywood in 2018, Best TV Actress at the 2014 Exquisite Lady of the Year Awards and among the top 3 highest-grossing actresses in 2020, respectively. She needs the AMAA crest to be admitted into the unofficial club of the continent’s leading actresses.

Akah Nnani (Man of God)
NOTABLE actor, TV host and content creator Akah Nnani is on the AMAA nomination list for actor in a leading role. Nnani who has featured in several ‘MNET Africa’ TV Films, Web Series, and Feature Films may have impressed the AMAA jurors with his delightful interpretation of the role of Samuel, the singer who forsakes his harsh religious upbringing to live his own life, but his soul remains caught between the world and the faith he left behind.

Regarded as one of the most talented and natural media personalities in Nigeria who has had the opportunity to interview so many African music and film celebrities while also being a guest on top TV and Radio shows in the Pan-African space, Nnani’s Vlog Akah Bants has been recognised as one of the fastest growing Nigerian YouTube channels and has an astounding engagement rate.

Nnani has starred alongside some of the biggest names in Nollywood and has been described by media critics and entertainment enthusiasts as one of the fastest-rising Nigerian stars to watch.