Movie critic and producer, Charles Novia has condemned some of the activities that went down during the Africa Magic viewer’s choice awards on Saturday.
“One can safely say that it was a night of evening dresses, half-hidden cleavages and unpadded ‘Ukwus’ on the Red Carpet… and there were some few ‘Ukwus pushing out for cursory recognition and appreciation inside the dresses too” the movie producer wrote.
Starting with the presenters, Ik Osakioduwa, Vimbai and Osa Ighodaro, Charles wrote “IK and Vimbai were quite at ease all through the night when they had their slots but Osas seemed to be trying to catch up with the other two. Throughout the night, she put up a spirited performance but there were a few stumbles over some words as she followed the teleprompter and she seemed overtly mechanical most times. Perhaps, as she goes on over the years, she would find her rhythm.
Vimbai, Osas & Ik
Moving on the performers, he wrote “The sound in the hall was really a minus. For most of the live performances, the sound output was below average and I’m told there were microphone glitches too which those who watched the live broadcast tweeted about. The sound output was bad during Davido’s performance. He came on stage and started with his hit song ‘Skelewu’ backed by a live band. To us in the hall, or perhaps to the trained ear for live sound, it sounded like a pride of lions devouring some killed game and one could barely differentiate the music from the din. Bez performed on stage with a live band. The audience loved it, though there seemed to be a little self-restraint on his part to really let himself loose, but maybe that’s his ‘mellow cool brother’ image he has given us over the years. Flavour was on the bill too and started his performance with ‘Ada’ which got me thinking that for aesthetic purposes, perhaps an ‘Ada’ might have done well to be on stage with him to enhance his stagecraft. But Flavour held his own and took the crowd to another level with other hit songs, ‘Kirikata’ and ‘Asewo’. When Waje performed, I became totally convinced that she is the Best Female Vocalist presently in Nigeria. That lady sure can sing! Wow! And with the very talented Cobhams Asuquo backing her up on the keyboard, it was one of the best moments of the night for me and a memorable one too. Waje might be wishing she ‘didn’t have a heart’ as her song goes, but I bet there were many guys there wishing for her heart that night!”
On the awards and presentees of the awards, “The biggest blooper of the night happened when John Okafor and Monalisa Chinda were up to present the award for ‘Best Actress in a Yoruba movie’ as announced by Okafor. Somehow, what flashed onscreen were the names of the nominees in the Hausa category, which got the audience mumbling in confusion. Maybe someone in the control booth misheard or ‘mufu’-ed that segment? The Presenters announced the winner as Mercy Aigbe perhaps without noticing the mistake or not knowing what to do after a typical Naija live ‘awkward moment’. John Okafor professionally switched to his ‘Mr Ibu’ alter-ego by saying ‘Na Yoruba dem give us’ which cracked up a lot of people. The correct visual was replayed and Mercy Aigbe, the announced winner came up to the stage for her prize. ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ She shrieked out in what sounded like an explicit moan which got many in the audience looking at one another. However, Mercy won the crowd over with her acceptance speech in which she acknowledged her husband and family. Osita Iheme won the ‘Best Actor in a comedy’ award and graciously acknowledged his other contestants. That was one of the best parts of the night. He gave a moving but stumbled speech on African unity and the Arts. Thereafter, Osita and his screen sidekick Chinedu Ikedezie presented the ‘Best Actress in a comedy’ award to Funke Akindele who seemed to be the obvious winner during the nomination reel having being nominated for two movies in the same category. As Funke left the stage for backstage, we all could hear her happy screams of ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ backstage during the commercial break as she gave out bellows of excitement. Congratulations, Funke.
Joseph Benjamin and Mercy Johnson presented the award for ‘Best Comedy’. Mercy Johnson seemed nervous or perhaps shy on stage and intermittently clutched her frock, raising it off the floor nervously. But she did regain her composure a bit when presenting the award with a jibe at Elvis Chuks, the winner. I found it curious though that when Mercy came on stage, a lot of ladies in the audience were having hushed conversations about her dress or perhaps her tactless lifting of the dress onstage? Whatever it was with that, no one could fault the impression her ‘Ukwu’ made on the audience when she turned to leave the stage! Ramsey Noah and Bimbo Akintola presented the award for ‘Best Movie Drama’. Ramsey looked good in his kaftan and I would vote him as one of the best dressed for the night. Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva presented ‘The Industry Merit Award’ to veteran Actor, Pete Edochie. There’s something always cool as cucumber about Pete Edochie. His taped acceptance speech was played in which he ensured the whole world recognised that he’s a titled Igbo Chief with the way he was dressed and the calm and collected manner he spoke. He ended his speech with an advice for aspiring actors; ‘Don’t run after the press, they will run after you when you are successful’. His award came with a brand new Hyundai SUV which was collected on his behalf by his representative.
One must mention that one appreciates that a lot of time and energy goes into planning events such as this. The organizers must be commended for investing their resources in Africa’s film industry by institutionalizing an annual reward system for the burgeoning film sector. However, this year’s AMVCA had a few flaws, though it is an improvement from last year’s. While the entertainment value of the event this year was quite good, one couldn’t help leaving the event with a nagging analogy that the much-hyped ‘night of Africa Magic’ had something akin to a magician who had an outstretched hat to perform a trick but the audience just didn’t see the rabbit this time.” He concluded.