By Charles Novia
I watched a number of films this year and as many as were being churned out in all the zones, I had to pin-point my search to specifics. As a filmmaker, with many years of experience to my credit, I know good acting when I see it. Acting is inborn while talent is general but depth in acting is few among actors. And so, my blog has decided to award and possibly reward actors with citations and accolades for their art in a preceding and current year. I and my editorial staff think this will be a good and unbiased reward system. I drew up my conclusions about the names on this list after watching them in stand-out roles in some movies released in late 2012 to the last quarter of 2013. I consulted a few of my colleagues about my list; tested film directors and there was an unanimity on 70% of the criteria I used in arriving at my conclusion. They all agreed with me 100% on the choice for the Number One Actress in 2013.
This list is wholly based on my perception , criteria and experience. I consulted as much as possible and decided too to add my blogazine as part of the award process. In essence, this means that these actresses mentioned here would be given special award plaques in the first quarter of 2014 by charlesnoviadaily.com for being part of this list. I do not seek to compete with the numerous awards strewn all over the place but to add a sane and credible voice to a general reward system for talent. Ours will be different because it is a critics award, not lobbied for nor coveted. It is just a plain and honest award for artistic excellence.
For those who may not agree with me on the choice of actresses in this list, you are free to draw your own conclusions. However, note that this is not a list of ‘The Top Actresses in Nollywood based on over-exposure on Red Carpets’ or some whimsical fan base. This list is based on talent, characterisation, body of artistic work for the year in review and most of all interpretation of the roles the actresses played. None was judged on nebulous criteria such as ‘how many years one has spent acting’ or awards won in other climes in the year in question. Whether new or old, the actresses on this list gave a rousing performance in 2013 and I applaud them.
So, here are the Best 5 Nollywood Actresses in 2013. ( The term ‘Actress’ used here is to differentiate the gender as there is a ‘Top 5 Nollywood Actors of 2013′ coming up on this blog this week).
NUMBER 5: RITA DOMINIC
Rita had a good year. Winning ‘Best Actress’ a couple of times (among many
nominations ) for the movie ‘The Meeting’. I also watched her in another
recently released movie, ‘Finding Mercy’ but felt that she gave a listless and
lukewarm performance in that flick. In ‘The Meeting’, Rita was smoking. I would
say that for the first time since I have been seeing her in movies, she found
the right script which explored her acting depths. Rita is a Theatre Arts
Graduate from Uniport and that is usually an advantage for actors with such
credentials from Drama School. What is expected from such actors has to come to
the fore someday in Nollywood, when the right script meets the right Director
and the fundamentals of a good production are met. ‘The Meeting’ is that kind of
production. Rita subsumed her character and aided the cackle points of the
comedy. With make-up which aimed to transform and accentuate her character, she
found it easy to give us all a good performance. However, I found some grey
areas of her acting bordering between slapstick and sublimal comedy especially
the part where she called out ‘Code Red’ , which was a typical Nollywood
play-to-the-gallery moment. But her acting on those few bits can be forgiven
because she had a screen presence of mind. Rita Dominic has more to prove in
Nollywood, either as an actress or as a Producer. If it is the former, then she
has to be careful about her choice of scripts from now on because there might be
false slips ahead. A good actress anyday, she is.
NUMBER 4: YVONNE OKORO
Now this would raise eyebrows with people asking if Yvonne is from Nollywood
since she is associated more with Ghana. Nomencletures do not matter to me.
Nollywood is a global brand and is a huge platform for all African actors to
make their mark. Besides, Yvonne’s movie, ‘The Contract’, was released in the
cinemas in Nigeria in 2013 which meets a part of the criteria I used in drawing
up this list.
I must confess that I had not watched much of Yvonne’s movies
before ‘The Contract’. I just knew her name from a few social media buzz which
was neither here nor there for me. So when I watched her performance in ‘The
Contract’, my curiousity gave way to admiration. She interpreted the role quite
well. There was an almost effortless transistion of moods and emotions in her
characterisation and she had the audience eating out of the palms of her hands
all through the movie. She came off looking like she had something to prove
with that movie both as Producer and lead actress and I think she succeeded.
There was nothing forced about her nuances in the movie, which projected a rare
self-assuredness lacking in many of her counterparts. Since Ghana is her chosen
country of citizenship, I would say she is an asset to her country in the acting
NUMBER 3: DAMILOLA ADEGBITE
A surprise resignation from ‘TINSEL’in 2012 , made most people wonder if Damilola knew what she was doing. She gave reasons for leaving the televsion serial; to concentrate on her acting career. Watching her in Michelle Bello’s ‘Flower Girl’ brought home the wisdom in her career curve.
I have always held the notion that Damilola has a powerful screen presence. There’s something sultry and appealing about her looks on screen. Very few actors have that aura. In Damilola’s case, I thought it wasn’t yet explored to the maximum. In ‘Flower Girl’, that screen aura combined with a visible attempt at internalisation and visualisation by Damilola in her role, made many see her in a whole new light. Finally, the stirrings of a Super Actress is beginning to show. ‘Flower Girl’ is a romantic comedy modelled after the genre as it is done in Hollywood. Attempting to get it right needs the right male and female actors in the lead roles. Damilola was the right pick for the female lead. She knew when to turn on the charm and when to disarm in the movie. She gave it her best and it showed. Hopefully, she would maintain the tempo and energy in her new movies after ‘Flower Girl’.
NUMBER 2: TAMARA ETIENO
Many people would not remember her name and it is likely many would have
forgotten her as the winner of ‘The Next Movie Star’ Reality show a couple of
years back. But such credentials are not important when it comes to judging her
abilities as an actor. Tamara was simply awesome in the movie ‘Desperate
Housegirls’! She gave an organic and jaw-dropping performance which must her won
her new fans and etched her name somewhere on the consciousness of movie lovers.
There was a closeness to method acting when watching her in ‘Desperate
Housegirls’ and she must be commended for making acting interesting again
especially as we have been assailed with talentless actors and actresses in the
past few years. I predict that Tamara is going to shine in a few months but that
illumination depends on the kind of scripts she chooses and the Directors she
works with. But then, she is good. Quite good.
NUMBER 1: MERCY JOHNSON
Mercy would be my number one choice for ‘Best Actress’ in 2013. She has simply been awesome in the her movies this year. There’s something ultra-natural and organic about Mercy Johnson which confounds even her critics. She can act. She delivers. In four movies I watched in 2013, which she starred in, she was the epitome of delightful characterisation. Watch her in the ‘Dumebi’ spawn of movies and you would appreciate how her talent has evolved since she came back from her Maternity Break.
Mercy is a chameleonic actress, one with the uncanny ability to immerse herself in her roles. She can play the victimised House Maid in one movie and switch to the Lady Boss in the next. In fact, if the role suits her, she comes out smoking.
She is arguably the Best Actress for 2013. You can quote me on that.
Source: Africa Entertainment News