By Joan Omionawele
Whether you are an actor, a cinematographer, a filmmaker, a media personality or a viewer; one thing is sure, once the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards are approaching, a frenzy descends on entertainment practitioners.
It’s either one is anticipating who the winners of the event will be, what the best dressed (usually Rita Dominic) will wear or who will emerge the night’s biggest flops. However it pans out, it is always refreshing to watch Africa’s most prestigious annual award showcase, in person or on television.
As this writer approached the parking lot of the Eko Hotel and Suites where the event was held, a gridlock had formed all the way through the underground lot and towards the hall.
The crowd – including actors and actresses dressed to the nines – had to come down from their cars to avoid being locked out of the venue (as doors were to be closed at 6:30 pm).
You see, when the organisers of the AMVCA’S say they will begin a show at 7 pm, even our celebrities know that it is set in stone. The notorious ‘African Time’ syndrome doesn’t apply here.
The Overcrowded Red Carpet
The AMVCA’s red carpet is always a must see. As it is with properly scripted shows around the world, organizers ensure that there is ample space for the dozens of cameras, journalists and celebrities to strut through. This year however, the throng of actors and actresses that were packed into the narrow corridor left precious little space for breathing, let alone photo ops. Notice that most of the photos celebs posted on their social media pages were taken in their hotel rooms and the lobby?
Some lady behind me lost her date who had disappeared into the crowd. She kept asking frantically “Please have you seen my boyfriend? He’s wearing a carpet green tuxedo. Jeez, I just lost him and my phone is dead!” She was advised to wait at the entrance or speak to the heavily guarded security men who may help her locate the missing boyfriend.
Back to the story. It looked like the whole world the was at Eko Hotel on Saturday. The crowd was so overwhelming that the hall was filled beyond its capacity and some people who came late hardly found seats.
IK’s Charisma Is Effortless
It was showtime a few minutes after everyone got settled into the hall. True to their words, the event kicked off at exactly 8:00pm with Ik Osakioduwa as host. I remember telling a colleague of mine that Ik (who always ups the ante every time he is given the opportunity to anchor a show) has been greatly missed at recent events.
He carried the show on professionally, subtly chiding Nollywood actors who didn’t clap for their colleagues who won, to directly addressing Senator Dino Melaye on stage and finally sweeping a married lady off her feet with a song. A low point was his faux pas after Falz’s performance. Even he realized perhaps it wasn’t an appropriate joke after he’d said it.
Not All Entertainers Were Happy For Their Colleagues
As the show went on though, it became quite obvious that several entertainers could not hide their dissatisfaction at not winning. Except for the moment Odunlade Adekola and Bisola Aiyeola were called up on stage, there was no excitement whatsoever from Nollywood actors present; everyone seemed to be ‘minding their business’
More drama was to follow as the event continued. When Falz was called up to receive his award for “Best Supporting Actor” in the movie New Money, an actor dressed (name withheld) in a white suit stood up with another actress and stormed out of the hall. The force with which he stood up saw the iron pillar at the aisle fall to the ground, but he was in such a hurry that he didn’t notice. The woman beside me said, “Maybe he didn’t win, or maybe his friend didn’t win, but he should calm down na. There is a time for everything.” NET gathered that he was nominated in the same category as Falz.
The truth about the AMVCA’s is that it has the power to attract personalities who would hitherto not be found in the same space and whether or not people acknowledge each other’s successes, it has become a prestigious platform for celebrating African cinema’s numerous yet diverse talents. That united front is the requirement for telling Africa’s story to the world.
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