AMVCA: ‘Viewers’ throw up their industry best for 2017

Rita Dominic

In the wisdom of the viewers who participated in the voting process of this year’s African Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA), Sambassa Nzeribe and Rita Dominic are the best AMVCA’s actor and actress in a movie for this year.

The viewers also picked the long-standing actress, Ebele Okaro-Onyuike, new actor Rotimi Salami, Funke Akindele-Bello and Imeh Bishop Umoh as Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Movie or Television Series, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Movie or Television Series, Best Actress in a Comedy Movie or Television Series and Best Actor in a Comedy Movie or Television Series, respectively.

There were winners in other categories of the award ceremony held last Saturday at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

But the big winners of the night, in the estimation of informed observers, were the legendary actor, Chief Chika Okpala, aka Zebrudaya, and the amazing new actress, Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama.

Okpala, who is famous for living delightfully for over two decades the role of Chief Zebrudaya in the long rested television drama series, New Masquerade, got the 2017 AMVCA Industry Merit Award, while Somkele received the Trailblazer Award.

Both Okpala and Somkele are now proud owners of GAC Motors’ luxury vehicles. While Okpala won the new luxury SU- the GS4, Somkele won a classic sedan- the GA3.

Celebrity salutes some of the screen actors who have by popular choice emerged industry best for this year.

Sambasa Nzeribe
Emerging Nollywood actor, Sambassa Nzeribe, is not new to winning the AMVCA. The product of the Creative Arts Department of the University of Lagos and actor of A Mile from Home fame was last year voted the Best Supporting Actor at the AMVCA for his inimitable performance in the war story, A Soldiers Story.

This year, it is his role in Eric Aghimien’s gun-trotting film, Slow Country, that gave Sambasa, whose real name is Chidozie Sixtus Nzeribe, his third major award in almost a year.

Late last year in New York, Sambassa was named Best Supporting Actor by organisers of the New York, United States-domiciled Nigerian Entertainment Award (NEA).

This AMVCA is huge. Sambasa was nominated in a category that has industry heavy weights, such as Richard Mofe-Damijo and the legendary actor, Olu Jacobs. But the viewers, who voted, chose him over these heavyweights and therefore the Ayes had it.

With this winning, the spotlight would be on Sambasa, who a notable critic described as ‘the actor to look out for.’

Rita Dominic
An award-winning actress and producer, Rita Dominic was named as the Best Actress in a movie.

The viewers chose Rita for the believable manner she interpreted her role in the award-winning movie, 76.

A trained theatre artiste and thoroughbred professional, Rita has with this, won two of the most significant awards for a Best Actress in the continent.

She had earlier in 2012 received the Best Actress crest from the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).

Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama
It was the emerging actress, Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama that was the choice of the organisers of the AMVCA for the Trailblazer award.

This category is non-competitive, and it is usually awarded to a personality that has in a short time made tremendous impact in their field of endeavour.

And clearly, Somkele’s performance in three of the big movies (Arbitration, 93 Days and The Wedding Party) released last year made a way for her to grab this years Trailblazer award.

No doubt, Somkele has been having it good since she joined the industry a little over three years now. The Agbor, Delta State native got the spotlight fixed on her after her beatific performance in those three of the big movies.

Her performance in those three quality Nigerian movies, which all made it to the City-to-City programme of last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) earned Somkele and the actor, OC Ukeje, an invitation to be part of the TIFF’s Rising Star Programme, which spotlights two up-and-coming actors from an industry that is in focus under the festivals City-to-City programme.


A warm and friendly personality, Somkele revealed that she would have been a health worker if acting had not called her up.

She hinted that this year would be a busy one for her, as she has a couple of offers to feature in some movie productions and television soaps.
The other winners were Best Make-up Artist (Movie/TV Series)- Hakeem Onilogbo Ajibola and Perekeme Odon (Oloibiri); Best Costume Design- Pat Egwurube (’76); Best Art Director- Pat Nebo (’76); Best Sound Editor (Movie/TV Series)- Guy Steer (Vaya); Best Picture Editor (Movie/TV Series)- Nnodim Chigozie and Paula Peterson (Oloibiri); Best Lighting Designer (Movie/TV Series)- Elliot Sewape (93 Days); Best Cinematographer- Lance Gewer (Happiness is a Four Letter Word); Best Short Film or Online Video- Ogo Okpue (Cat Face); Best Documentary- Uga Carlini (Alison); Best Actress in a Comedy (Mnet Original Series)- Deborah Anungwa (Hustle); Best Actor in a Comedy (Mnet Original Series)- Samuel Ajibola (Johnsons); Best Actress in a Drama (Mnet Original Series)- Meg Otanwa (Hush); Best Actor in a Drama (Mnet Original Series)- David Jones David (Hotel Majestic); Mnet Original Best Comedy Series- The Johnsons; Mnet Original Best Drama Series- Tinsel; Best Indigenous Language Movie or TV Series (Swahili)- Zilizala; Best Indigenous Language Movie or TV Series (Hausa)- Tijjani Shehu Yahaya (Yaki Da Zuciya); Best Indigenous Language Movie or TV Series (Yoruba)- Jumoke Odetola and Abiodun Jimoh (Somewhere in the Dark); and Best Indigenous Language Movie or TV Series (Igbo)- Crey Ahanonu (Amonye Bu Onye).

Others include Best Soundtrack/Original Score- Michael Ogunlade (The Encounter); Best TV Series- Funke Akindele (Jenifa’s Diary); Best Writer(s) in a Movie or TV Series- Craig Freimond, Tshabalira Lebakeng, Anthony Mafela, David Majoka, Madoda Ntuli, Harriet Perlman and Robbie Thorpe (Vaya); Best Movie (East Africa)- Sarika Hemi Lakhani (Kati Kati); Best Movie (West Africa)- Rogers Ofime (Oloibiri); Best Movie (Southern Africa)- Elvis Chuks (All About Love); Best Actress in a Drama Movie or TV Series- Rita Dominic (’76); Best Actor in a Drama Movie or TV Series- Sambasa Nzeribe (Slow Country); Best Director- Izu Ojukwu (’76); Best Overall Movie- Adonijah Owiriwa and Izu Ojukwu (’76).

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