The Spotlight Is On Obazele, Akindoju, Ukeje And Dokubo
WHEN the curtains open on the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) on September 26 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, notable Nigerian screen personalities, like Sadiq Daba, Queen Nwokoye and Ini Edo that we profiled here some weeks back would not be the only Nigeria screen celebrities competing for honours.
Four other notable celebrities- Paul Obazele, Kemi Lala Akindoju and OC Ukeje featured on the nomination list and so they may possibly pick up the AMAA diadem if the international jury finds their performance worthy enough.
Obazele and Ukeje were nominated in the supporting actor category of the prestigious award, while Akindoju and Hilda Dokubo were nominated for the promising actor and the best supporting female actor category, respectively.
If any of them, including Daba, Edo and Nwokoye, who were nominated for the leading male and female actor categories, pick up the diadem, he or she would just have confirmed his/her rating on the continental acting skies.
HE is in nomination for the best supporting actor category. His portrayal of an Oba in Frank Rajah Arase’s historical film, Iyore, earned the actor, movie director and producer the nomination.
The former president of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), ‘Presido,’ as Obazele is simply called, may not be that face on every poster, but he is certainly one of the famous players in the Nigerian television and movie industry.
Those who have followed his steady rise to stardom from the late 1980s when he embraced acting with the kind of passion that suggested his was from the guts, hold that the Edo-born actor has continued to pull the movie crowd over each time he is on the cast of a television soap or a home movie production.
Memories of what they say are his commendable acting ‘runs’ in such rested television soaps and serials, like Ripples, Checkmate, Third Eye, and in countless early home movie productions still linger in their memories.
Today, Obazele, who had though sipped from the bowl of fame long before the Nigerian movie culture became the order of the day, has carved a niche for himself.
He has over time earned the reputation of a consistent motion picture practitioner, a vital member of the Nollywood family and one of the increasingly influential chip of the old bloc.
Indeed, the Ishan, born to a father who retired as Head of News of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and a mother who retired as a Matron, is reputed as a big player in the politics of Nollywood and amongst top screen actors that have featured concurrently in about three television soaps that ran at the same time, namely Third Eye, Checkmate and Ripples.
No wonder he was once named as ‘one of the most consistent faces on television’ by the editorial team of TV Guide, the once quarterly publication of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
Ukeje (Love or Something Like That)
Ukeje is in nomination for his believable showing in Shirley Frimpong Manso’s Love or Something Like That.
Those who have seen the movie say that his surreal performance earned him the deserved nomination and they point to him as one of the strong contenders of the award for best supporting actor.
Past winner of the rested Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) reality show, Ukeje has grown far above his reality show winning, especially if you consider that in Nigerian acting, especially in Nollywood, reality means that every new act, particularly products of reality television shows, must find their own rhythm, as their winning the reality show does not guarantee star status for them on the turf.
Only a finger-countable number of such winners have walked pass their reality show winning and the Abia-born actor is one of them.
His artistic contributions, apart from his winning AMBO, are making a way for him in Nollywood and beyond.
From his screen debut, White Water, ‘OC,’ as the Marine Science graduate of the University of Lagos is also called by close friends, has been having a steady run in the movie and observers says it won’t be long before he finds a spot in a Hollywood movie.
An award-winning actor, the journey to this stage of his career was not particularly smooth.
Ukeje said he had a very difficult time convincing producers that he could live roles beyond White Waters.
But with time, and after attending the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, the rhythm and network changed and there was a lot more attention on his talent.
Star of the South African wave-making movie, Ayanda, Ukeje’s career ambition is to continue to be relevant, as an actor and entertainer.
DOKUBO is in nomination for the best female supporting actor category.
She was nominated for her beatific performance in the social-cause movie, Stigma, by Dagogo Diminas.
An actress in the professional class, the story of how the actress, choreographer, activist and caregiver became a darling of the stage and screen has not changed a bit.
She recalled that her journey into acting dates back to 1983, when she had a debut performance in Amatu Braide’s Ebejiba.
That dance drama, a social commentary on dance, was Rivers State entry in the 1983 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture, tagged ‘NAFEST ’83,’ which held in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Dokubo was then a third form student of Government Secondary School on Harbour Road, Port Harcourt.
On completion of her secondary education, she was admitted to study Law at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
Her peers and all those who have followed her glittering career, both as an artiste and a broadcaster, found the news that she had opted to study Law incomprehensible.
A degree in Theatre Arts would just have been ideal, considering her exploits in the school’s Dramatic and Cultural Society.
She chose Law as her first course to please her parents, who had insisted that it must be Law or nothing else.
But at ABU, something dramatic that put paid to that ‘forced’ ambition occurred. She could not be admitted on “on religious grounds.”
She then decided to try the University of Port Harcourt, which was her second choice in the university matriculation examination.
There, admission into the Law Faculty had closed. She got a similar response when she approached the Head of Department at the English Department, her other preferred choice.
Providence, however, brought her before this listening faculty officer at the Department of Linguistics.
There, she was presented with just an option: “Why not study French?” But she rejected the offer and opted for a programme in Theatre Arts.
Dokubo graduated four years later with fond memories of how she was grilled in the art of the theatre.
The first in a family of six and mother of two boys graduated with a bias for play writing and production.
A quest for more training in the arts saw her heading abroad years later to the prestigious Royal College of Arts in London, where she obtained a postgraduate Diploma in Play Production, Choreography and African Theatre.
The native of Buguma in Asaritoru Council of River State returned afterwards and has maintained a steady position as one of Nigeria’s leading actresses, grabbing mostly lead roles on stage and screen.
Akindoju (Dazzling Mirage)
STAGE and screen actress, Akindoju, is in nomination for the category of best young actor and promising actor category for her beatific performance in Tunde Kelani’s award winning movie, Dazzling Mirage.