A total of 37 awards were presented to the winners across the various categories.
By Helena Olori
Filmmakers and entertainment stars from across the continent on Saturday, May 20, gathered at the Eko Hotel and Suites for the highly-anticipated grand finale of Africa’s most prestigious event in the film industry, the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award.
The event, dedicated to celebrating outstanding achievements and contributions of talented stars and production studios in the African film industry, saw a total of 37 awards presented to the winners, spotlighting outstanding talents in various categories, including the best-dressed individuals who added an extra touch of glamour to the evening.
The big winners for the night were Kunle Afolayan’s Aníkúlápó – which clinched multiple awards of the 16 nominations it garnered, including the most coveted award for Overall Best Film, Africa – and the Jade Osiberu-helmed Brotherhood. The crime thriller bagged 6 awards, including the Best Movie West Africa and Best Actor award given to Nollywood rising star and alumni of the popular reality show, Big Brother Naija, Tobi Bakre.
Elozonam and Daine Russet joined Tobi Bakre as Big Brother Naija alumni to walk away with a coveted plaque. Elozonam, alongside Kiekie, won the Best Online Social Content Creator for their Back from the Future series, while Russet’s Ricordi cliched Best Original Drama series.
Bimbo Ademoye’s performance in Selina earned her the award for Best Actress in a Comedy/TV Series, outshining her competitors, including the acclaimed Funke Akindele and the talented Mercy Johnson, both nominated for their roles in Battle on Buka Street.
Individually, Ugandan filmmaker, Loukman Ali, took home three awards for Best Cinematography, Best Director and Best Art Director.
Philip Karanja’s Njenga won Best Movie East Africa, while Jewel by Elvis Chucks bagged the award for Best Movie Southern Africa. Mpali by Zambian Filmmaker, Collins Zulu, took home the award for Best Original Telenovela.
In addition to the competitive categories, the AMVCAs 2023 also bestowed the Industry Merit Award on Nigerian actress, Patience Ozokwor, for her outstanding contributions to the industry, and a Trailblazer Award on Angel Unigwe as the rising star of the year.
The 9th edition of the annual awards nights, however, sparked mixed reactions among film enthusiasts and social media users. One particular point of contention revolves around actor Kunle Remi, whose exceptional performance in Aníkúlápó was snobbed, despite the film receiving multiple nods and winning the prestigious Overall Best Film award.
Although it is well known that the awards, particularly those in the voting categories like Best Actor, and Best Actress, are decided by votes, viewers were still astonished by the fact that Funke Akindele’s highly-successful and highest-grossing Nollywood film, Battle on Buka Street, failed to win any of its nine nominations.
Yet another argument is the dominance of Nollywood actors and projects in the major categories year in, year out, raising concerns about the awards’ credibility in truly reflecting Pan-African accomplishments in the film industry.
The event hosted by ace Nigerian presenter, IK Osakioduwa, and South African model, Zozibini Tunzi, featured performances from Nigerian artistes, Tiwa Savage, and Iyanya.
See full list of winners here.