African Oscars: Day America stood still for Nollywood

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By TOSIN AJIRIRE

Nollywood shone like a million stars in far away United States of America penultimate Saturday as the Nollywood & African Film Critics’ Awards (NAFCA) popularly known as Africa Oscars held at the prestigious Warner Theatre in Washington DC.

Signs that all would be well with the 3-day event became vivid the previous day as movie stars and celebrities from different parts of Africa stormed the 5-Star Holiday Inn, Georgetown, Washington DC, which was also the venue of the African Film Summit and movie premieres.

The summit featured significant topics about the African cinema and was followed by an interactive panel of notable industry leaders. After the intellectual brainstorming, however, it was time for movie premiere as artistes and stakeholders trooped into the halls to catch their fun watching new films such as One Night in Vegas, Ninah’s Dowry, Nurses from Hell, American Mama and Gem of the Rainforest.

But then, at exactly 4pm on Saturday, the legendary Warner Theatre came alive with Hollywood and Nollywood stars strutting the red carpet, granting interviews and signing autographs. It was indeed a roll call of who is who. Gorgeously dressed and dazzling on the red carpet were Hollywood stars like Rollas Benz Antoine, Ebbe Bassey, KD Aubert, Jimmy Jean Louise, Sarodj Bertin, and Syr Law among others. And from Nollywood and Ghollywood came Lillian Bach, Vitalis Ndubuisi, John Dumelo, Majid Mitchel, Jennifer Oguzie, Abiola Ige, Benedict Johnson, John Uche and Montel Swaray (Liberia) among several others.

The awards proper commenced after a stage play that paraded some of the best in African drama. And to spice the night, there were musical performances by top artistes like Jerri Jhetto (USA), Koby Maxwell (Ghana), Katumbella (Angola), Kanja (Kenya), Tari (USA), Zonette Johnson (Liberia), Rebecca (UK), and Cesar Loboko (DR Congo).

In the General Category, Ninah’s Dowry ran away with the Best Film and Best Editing awards while Weekend Getaway’s cast of Ramsey Noauah and Genevieve Nnaji took the Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role awards respectively.

One Night in Vegas won Best Film in Diaspora and Best Cinematography awards with the films’ actor, Jimmy Jean Louis snatching the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in the Diaspora Category.

However, the major highlight of the 3-day event took place on Sunday when celebrities embarked a scenic tour of Washington DC. Movie stars virtually turned the luxury cruise ship tagged “The Spirit of Washington” into a dancing hall as they partied all day with plenty to eat and drink. Like Victor Olatoye, President of NAFCA earlier promised, the celebrity cruise was in deed an afternoon full of fun and excitement as it held on board of one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the District of Colombia.

Organized by Nollywood Film Critics USA, the official review organization for Nollywood and African movies, NAFCA popularly known as African Oscars, is one of the most prominent award ceremonies in America dedicated to Nollywood and African films in general.

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