4 Takeaways From The 2022 AMVCA Nominations

Some shocking twists...

Last week, nominees for the 2022 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) were announced to incredible fanfare. The livestream event was hosted by Adesua Etomi-Wellington and Daniel Etim Effiong, and was eagerly followed after being missed out on last year, the pandemic being the familiar reason yet again.


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As expected of such a prominent award show, there was a buzz of reactions across social media that evening. Film professionals celebrated their nominations in real time, turning up the excitement for May when the award is scheduled to hold. The AMVCA is no small feat, and pretty much everyone knows it.

Upping the ante for this year’s show, award organisers Multichoice had made announcements of their own. The award gala will be held on May 14, but the entire week before then will be attended by a host of events which celebrate non-acting professionals. Voting is now open for the nominated categories and will close on the 29th of April.

Certainly with the burgeoning interest in modern Nigerian filmmaking, the 2022 AMVCA Awards would be an important week for the entire entertainment ecosystem. These nominations have really got us piqued, and here are four talking points from the whole affair.

Most nominated films

As with any nomination list there’s bound to be focus on the most nominated directors and films. Through these choices the preferences of the award organisers are assessed and their motivations sometimes argued. Given the influence of the AMVCAs, its nominations list inherently shapes the direction of the film industry, a signifier of the films that could be produced in the near future.

The historical drama ‘Amina’, co-written by Okechukwu Ogunjiofor and Izu Ojukwu, had the most nominations: thirteen, including major categories such as Best Overall Movie and Best Director. The film, a portrait of the famed warrior queen Amina of Zazzau received mixed reviews, some faulting its usage of English language in telling such a peculiarly Hausa narrative. Others lauded its cinematography and fashion, still it was largely considered inferior to Ojukwu’s other historical film, ‘76’, which was a stirring depiction of military life and its relative terrors.

Making up the most nominated films were Ramsey Nouah’s ‘Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story’ which got eleven nominations, making it two for two in Nouah’s vision of remaking classics from Nollywood’s spiritual-inspired era of the nineties and early 2000s. Nominated also was Larry Gaaga, whose soundtrack successfully replicated the colourful Highlife-pop scoring that made ‘Living In Bondage’ such a delight. Highest-grossing Nollywood film ever, Funke Akindele-Bello’s ‘Omo Ghetto (The Saga)’ earned nine nominations, including Best Overall Movie, Best Picture Editor, Best Actor in Comedy and Best Makeup, making her the most decorated actor in AMCVA history with fourteen nominations and five wins.

A new category is introduced

Of the many categories announced, there was one which notably struck out: Best Online Content Creator. This new category had seven nominees, all of them famous to viewers of the myriad skits found across social media. In recent years these skitmakers have grown their cultural currency, massively contributing to the cache of trend worthy phrases and moments.

Among the catchphrases we identify with right now are ‘something hooge’ and ‘freaky freaky’, which can be traced to Oga Sabinus and Mr Macaroni respectively, both early favourites for the award in May. The nominations list is however filled with uniquely talented creators such as Tee Kuro, Bukunmi Adeaga-Ilori, Jacqueline Suowari, Eden Victor and Elozonam.

The larger conversation here concerns the prospects of social media video making in film awards. Content creation is gradually being accepted as a part of the entertainment ecosystem and requires a significant level of talent and dedication to pull off properly. The Oscars have been slowly incorporating TikTok into their awards, announcing last year’s nominees live on the platform. Another similar collaboration was the Cannes Film Festival partnership with TikTok to create the #TikTokShortFilm global competition, where in-app videos between thirty seconds and three minutes will be judged in the categories of Grand Prix, Best Script and Best Editing.


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Surprise stories

Nigerians love a good story and the nominations had a number of those. One that certainly struck out was that of Abiola Popola, the makeup artist who was cast as a sex worker in ‘La Femme Anjola’ after the original actress didn’t show up.

“She saved us,” wrote director Mildred Okwo in a tweet that went out just after the film was nominated in the Best Makeup category, a while after Okwo’s film which also starred Rita Dominic in the main role had been nominated for Best Overall Movie.

Another high point was Bisola Aiyeola’s nomination in three different acting roles. The former BBNaija housemate has proven to be a versatile creative, relentlessly carving a space for herself and showing she’s actually a good actress. Viewers of her nominated films ‘This Lady Called Life’ (best actress in a drama), ‘Dwindle’ (best actress in a comedy) and ‘Sugar Rush’ (best supporting actress) would surely fancy her to snag at least one of them.

Notable omissions

There were a number of high profile movies that were missing from the nominees list. Not only were these movies made by some of the biggest directors in Nollywood, they had progressed societal discussion about sensitive topics such as sex work and politics, inspiring reactions to both its message and artistic heft long after they were released.

Till today, some still ask: is the second instalment of ‘King of Boys’ a good movie? Obviously the first had established Kemi Adetiba as a fine practitioner of the intricately outlandish, sketching diverse stories through characters like Eniola Salami, Makanaki and Odogwu Malay who brought their act to life on screen. Many loved it, and though most people thought the part 2 only faltered minimally, it ordinarily would have been on the nominee list.

The films ‘Oloture’ and ‘Citation’ were also missing from the list, even after being some of the most discussed films of last year. Also pushing its mode of storytelling, both movies featured a documentary-style narrative and a non-actor lead respectively. Daniel Ademinokan’s ‘Gone’, a story of a returnee immigrant touches on the warm messages of familial strength and got a shout among viewers who thought it’d be nominated.

On my part, I thought Tunde Kelani’s characteristically brilliant ‘Ayinla’, a biopic of the Apala star Ayinla Omowura who was stabbed to death by his manager in 1980, would have gotten some nominations. All these films were however nominated last year at the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA), leading speculations as to why the AMVCA didn’t feature them in any categories. They might not have been submitted by the directors, which would be due to a number of underlying factors not privy to the public. There’s still so much to anticipate in May though, and we’ll be keeping our eyes for eventual winners.