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Nollywood Director Charles Novia names the Best 5 Nollywood Actresses of 2013 – Who is Missing?



Mercy Johnson - December 2013 - BellaNaija

Who ruled the box office and raked in big DVD sales in 2013? Charles Novia has the answer.

The Nollywood producer/director recently released his list of the Best 5 Nollywood Actress of 2013.

Check out the list and let us know who you think is missing.

Mercy Johnson Exclusive New Shots - BellaNaija - Feb 2011 - 014
1 – Mercy Johnson

Mercy would be my number one choice for “Best Actress” in 2013. She has simply been awesome in 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 characterization. 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.

Tamara Eteimo - December 2013 - BellaNaija

2- Tamara Etiemo

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”!

Damilola Adegbite

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.

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.

2013 Africa International Film Festival in Calabar - BellaNaija- 066

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.

For the full review on Charles Novia’s Best 5 Nollywood Actress, click here


  1. Loveth .O

    December 5, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    Can’t say who is missing

  2. Hurperyeahmie

    December 5, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks Mr. Charles

  3. Nelly Agbogu'weight loss blog

    December 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm


  4. Gistyinka Blog

    December 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Nice review..

  5. juju

    December 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    actually two ppl r missing…d two overhyped actress in naija… nd d winner goes to omo sexy first nd genny as d runner up… apparently according to dz guy dz 5 ladies r D LADIES for 2013!!! lol

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      December 5, 2013 at 3:02 pm

      You dey find trouble oh, the army of fans will have your hide in a minute 🙂

    • Plato

      December 5, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Since Omotola & Genny are socialites, not actresses.

    • Hannah

      December 5, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      you are right. those two are more about the lime light and fame, than the passion of playing a role as an actress.

    • niki

      February 12, 2014 at 12:35 am

      those two have probably played more mpvies in the past than any other actress. If they reaping the the gains of what they sow, i see nothing wrong in that

    • Just saying...

      December 5, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      He said 2013, dont think they acted this year

    • dlapikin

      December 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      Yes they did. Genny had this sorry performance in Half of a Yellow sun. Very stale.

  6. Miss_Flygerian

    December 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I think his list is pretty damn accurate. I don’t know who the Tamara lady is but the other four can ACT!!!

  7. bella

    December 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Mercy Johnson simply is the best in Africa! No two ways about that!

    • jumanji

      December 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      i second ur opinion.

    • Nikki

      December 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      She’s obviously the best for real!

  8. Avon

    December 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Nse Etim, Uche Jombo,Poko baby, Yv Nelson…….the list continues

  9. swagu

    December 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Eh yah no Yvonne Medicine? Any way she will win most exposed actress on instagram. But Charles Yvonne Nelsom won almost 10 awards at a go recently. U sayingd awardees dont kn9w what they are doing….hehe

    • adelegirl

      December 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Had me rolling at “Yvonne Medicine”!

    • MsTilii

      December 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      I am assuming this your question is a “Trick Question”

  10. Modella

    December 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    How do I know when I don’t watch Nollywood anymore? Tamara chick is highly* gorgeous!

  11. stella

    December 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    am cool with dis list so far Mercy Johnson dey lead…. shes really talented wow love her.cheers MJ for keeping it real…..Estelle

  12. uju lilian Ikegbune

    December 5, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Genevieve is the best actress in Africa

    • Felinda

      December 5, 2013 at 3:35 pm


  13. xx

    December 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Uru Eke is missing.

  14. Iris

    December 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    I like this list, although I’m still a bit sceptical about Mercy, especially when she tries to be “refined and oversexed”. I saw a movie with Tamara Etiemo and Alex Ekubo recently. I don’t remember the name of it but she’s definitely really good – no fake accents or affectations.

  15. Chelle

    December 5, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    mercy is worthy of the list. she acts like nobody is watching. Too real

  16. Joan85

    December 5, 2013 at 2:10 pm

    Tamara is a great actress! Love her! 🙂

  17. Mz Socially Awkward...

    December 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I totally agree with Charles about Tamara Etiomo (not saying I don’t agree with him about the others, just saying I haven’t actually watched any of their 2013 work). Definitely took notice of her in “Desperate Housegirls” and another movie that I can’t remember the name of, kept asking myself who this girl was and how come I haven’t seen her in more movies? She stood out in a good way.

    • babe

      December 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      ermmm u mean mrs somebody? tamara is damn god with her petite physique. tam tam baby u r a beta somebori!

  18. nonye

    December 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Charles “Ocho-nga-n’okwu” Novia well done o. He has a point though, how many movies did Omotola and Genevieve do this year? This is Mercy’s era, cant even lie. Rita in “The Meeting” was stellar!

  19. adelegirl

    December 5, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Please where can I get this “The Meeting” to buy on DVD? Haven’t seen it and I really would love to cos of all the rave reviews.

  20. Thelma

    December 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    The only name I agree with on this list is Mercy Johnson. Rita Dominic I can’t honestly say her acting is 10/10. Nse ikpe Etim should be on this list, Genevieve (of old), and where’s Patience Ozokwor? Cos if you want to talk about ACTING, she acts! I don’t know if this list is actually for the best actress or those who acted in movies that raked in the most money/ruled the Nollywood box office in 2013. I think it should be for the latter.

  21. wunmi

    December 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    I am just very pleased that MJ was acknowledged cos I feel she is highly under-rated. She is a star. Her delivery is just WOW. I thought Dumebi the dirty girl was her best performance until I saw her in “The Heart of a Fighter” chai! the babe can interpret her roles. I was really impressed. Mercy is good. I agree with Mr Novia on 4 of his picks but I’m not familiar with Tamara although I think she’s quite pretty. I think he left out Uche Jumbo she’a another woman who CAN act. I also admire Beverly Naya’s acting skills; but just like MJ I think she’s underrated. Nse is also amazing in delivering her roles but I don’t know if she did any movie this year and 2013 is year under review

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      December 5, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Wunmi, I don’t agree that Uche J’s a good actress. All her roles practically merge into the same one role (because she gives the same expressions and emotions in all of them) plus she has an unfortunate tendency to overact.

      She is, however, a good producer and has my respect for working to upgrade Nollywood, by pushing the industry into the 21st century with new movie plots.

    • Miss_Flygerian

      December 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      I have to agree. I can’t stand any movie with Uche Jombo in it, her overacting makes me sick. Like she needs a tranquilizer or something…sheesh.

  22. anonymous

    December 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    genevieve Nnaji

  23. MsTilii

    December 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Thank You Charles. You couldnt have said it better. In 2013 ALL the ones you named are the very best and as for that new lady Tamara Etiemo like i said on my blog earlier in the year, she is definitely a force to be reckoned with. That girl is good i tell ya. As picky on who i think in my opinion is a “good actress” Tamara Definitely blew me away the first time i saw her in “Mr and Mrs Somebody” and then in “Desperate house Maids” and that lady’s future is so bright 2014. She is pretty, she is eloquent and articulate and she acts beautifully & so effortlessly – the camera loves her (all the other newbies should watch and learn). Some have got the IT factor and she definitely got IT. I want a great director/producer to write a great script for her to challenge her some more so we see her range – She is about my only favourite new break out actress for 2013. (Ps: for those who have not seen her she is in Desperate Housemaids and Mr & Mrs Somebody). Tamara if you are reading this several “good” movie makers have taken notice and in 2014 you will be getting more scripts -please be selective to only great scripts to build your CV. Good Luck and God Bless.

    PS: Charles List specifically saids “2013”

  24. Idak

    December 5, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I wish this guy will spend more time perfecting his craft and stop churning out sub-standard flicks instead of these controversy generating pieces he is always eager to pen.

  25. jinkelele

    December 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    chai – pple should read oh. He said based on MOVIES RELEASED IN 2013 THAT HE HAS watched. Haba!
    Charles I agree with you on Rita in The Meeting(its available on dobox I think)
    Will check out Tamara in desperate housegirls though the title put me off
    Damilola in Flower girl – I’ll have a look too
    Mercy Johnson not a fav but I’ll check it out to see if I agree with you

  26. shenke

    December 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Mr Novia ur list is quite ok to me,though not to familiar with Tamara

  27. ms o

    December 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I totally agree…Tamara is awesome!u guys shld see desperate housegirls,she really delivered

  28. Temmy

    December 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Missing…? Nse Ikpe Etim

  29. Temmy

    December 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    For me, the only missing actress is Nse Ikpe Etim

  30. Organics by MelVee

    December 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Charles is on point with this list. Mercy Johnson is one of the most under-rated actresses in Nigeria and sure deserve more recognition. Tamara is also one to look out for…babe can act!

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  31. Felinda

    December 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Yes althought the Mgbekerish Title “Desperate Housegirls” is a put off, trust me – the movie is good. Desmond Elliot, am just curious why would you come up with a stupid mgbekerish title like thata, Maybe if you titled it right more people will watch. The title sounds like a movie mgbeke zlisters like Chika Ike, Tontoh Dikeh, Queeneth, Halima Abubakar and all those mediocre actresses will do. I only picked it up to watch it cos i had already seen Tamara in some movie and purposefully seeked for her in another movie, other wise based on the title i would not have picked it up either. The title is a put off Denziot. Try and set yourself apart from the village illiterate producers who have saturated the market – giving a movie a good title should not be rocket science. I rate the Desperate Housemaids movie a B+

    • chichi

      December 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm

      yes. Love that movie and i was so happy to see fresh faces killing it…Not that it matters, but i play Nigerian movies for my white friends when they visit. If you are my friend, you must love my ppl by force by fire. They had a blast watching desperate house girls and thought it was cute. if you havent seen it pls do. Its jokes.

  32. Bukky

    December 5, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Omotola even though does not do low budget movies which is mostly what people on that list do apart from maybe rita who produced and acted in her own movie, is still the Best Actress . Saw Ties that Bind recently and everyone in that room said same!

  33. Felinda

    December 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I havent seen an EXCELLENT movie with Genevieve in the past 2 years so she should not be on that list. I hardly see her at all these days and frankly although she is my number one, she is slowly being forgotten. Weekend Getaway dont count cos it was a bad script – BORING -thanks to the z listers “cant act” like Alexx, Uti, Beverly, Monalisa. I want the old emem isong movies back cos frankly some specific people are sinking her brand with their bad acting.

  34. Yogurt

    December 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    In my opinion, Damilola Adegbite can’t act to save her life. She has no facial expression and always appears very dull like she’s about to faint or something.
    Mercy is very good when challenged but when you pair her up with them oge okoye,
    tonto and ini, as per ‘big girls’ or whatever, she comes off as really silly.
    Rita sure has a place on that list , don’t know about the other two.

  35. Naveah

    December 5, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I disagree with Charles that Mercy Johnson can play a Boss Lady role. She is great with razz girls, village bumpkin but she has never been believable as a Corporate Boss Lady. She does not have the finesse or refined look to be believable .

    • chichi

      December 5, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      @ Naveah, girl, you aint never lied. Been telling my friends this for the longest time.. I like mercy but she is not as versatile as ppl think she is.

    • ima

      December 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      so damn true.. she’s just too “razz”

    • Leah

      December 5, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      Thank you!!! Mercy Johnson is NOT a good actress at all. She plays role that are very similar to her as a person, which is dirty, loud and obnoxious village woman, or hooker roles with her boobs hanging out. That is as far as her acting skills go. Rolling aroud in mud and climbing trees does not a good actor make. Those are called stunts and there people that get paid to do those.

    • i said

      December 6, 2013 at 11:40 am

      @ do you know mercy as a person? relating her person to her roles comes of as shallow to me. Opinions differ. Personally I think Mercy is the best actress nollywood has ever produced. I have worked with her personally and she is amazing. She can do all kinds of roles. ALL!

  36. Don Draper of Mad Men

    December 5, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    My best Actress is Nse ikpe etim . Rita dominic is trying. That said, the rest of the crew need to take acting classes. They all should be inspired by Lupita Nyongo.

  37. Victoria

    December 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Yes, Mercy Johnson is an excellent actress.


    December 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I agree with te no 2 chic. Desperate House girls is the best Nollywood movie I have ever seen. Where is Nse on the list tho

  39. chichi

    December 5, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    yes nse ikpe etim is missing.Nse gives me LIFE. I would replace mercy and rita with nse and uru eke. Sorry.

  40. Naomi

    December 5, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I’l replace Damilola with Nse Ikpe Etim…


    December 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Mercy johnson is the best actress in nollywood. Thumbs up novia.

  42. nene

    December 5, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    mercy johnson is annoying these days, but she’s still the best out of the actresses in 2013. i feel she doesn’t fit into rich girl roles perfectly, but she’s trying. i don’t think damilola is good, she still has work to do. rita dominic was good. i don’t know the others on the list. uche jombo has no business on this list, she has to polish her acting. genevive and omotola are no more actresses, they are socialites, an i dont think genevieve would’ve made the list either way. she became boring and her “stiff” acting got worse after the 2005 ban. patience ozokwor should be on every and any list. best actress ever!

    • i said

      December 6, 2013 at 11:49 am

      You hit the nail right on the head. Uche Jumbo and poko baby act the same way. I am watching her movie right now and she just tries too hard. Patience Ozokwo is great. Genevieve has always been stiff and boring. Doesnt interpret her role well abeg. I dont know why she is over hyped. Ini edo is another great underated actress.

    • Nikki

      December 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm

      Thank you! Genevieve is stiff, boring, and flat. No versatility in her work at all. Same character, different movie.

  43. MyView

    December 5, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    It is a sad day when Mercy Johnson is considered the best in Nollywood. She is restricted to ratchet and mgbeke roles that are comedy period.

  44. omolayo

    December 5, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    nse ikpe etim lady is very good

  45. chigirl

    December 6, 2013 at 12:19 am

    baby oku’s got to be mercy johnson’s worst movie ever! she
    acted like a lunatic, basically over interepreted d role. i totally
    agree with charles novia on mercy johnson tho, she brings it on
    everytime except for ofcourse- baby oku *yuck!*

    • i said

      December 6, 2013 at 11:50 am

      I agree. I hated that movie. Mercy is not a comedian just an actress with a pinch of comedy. Silly movie.

  46. Lizzie

    December 6, 2013 at 1:42 am

    Tamara yay!! wanna join the hypers, go see Desperate Housegirls if you haven’t. Forget the title, it put me off for a while but when i got around to seeing it i loved it in its entirety. Best 2013 Niaja movie for me 🙂 Available on Irokotv plus. Thank us later 🙂

  47. Uk

    December 6, 2013 at 3:50 am

    Uche jombo in mrs somebody is world class acting please , I don’t care about the list but for someone to say uche can’t act is totally stupid I have loved since holding hope till now , say you don’t like her movies don’t bring the can’t act talk near her pls. I am with this guy on mercy and Rita ,I am yet to see the rest actresses movies but will watch out for them.

  48. marculey

    December 6, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Rita all the way, mercy kisses

  49. wunmi

    December 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I also think Tonto Dike is a good actress. She acts with passion and conviction. I liked her a lot in Phobia

    • Nikki

      December 8, 2013 at 9:51 pm

      Stop it!

    • Lizzie

      December 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm


  50. maureen ibulubo

    December 6, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    nice one mr Novia, Mercy is the best any day.

  51. Isaac Godwin

    December 11, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Mj,i was expecting this!

  52. Crown

    December 11, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Nse Etim is seriously missing on this list. I have watched her movie “Mr & Mrs” over 5x and I aren’t tired.
    Am not sure of MJ toping this list but i know she is good in “her kind of roles” but not all. I don’t see that finesse in her
    I will go check the movie “Desperate Housegirls” Truth be told, the tittle discouraged me. I first saw Tamara in Mrs Somebody and i think she struck me as a good act.

  53. Sam

    December 13, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Who told u guys dat mj dont fit on rich;classic roles;and who told u dat she does not act boss;av u watched swing of emotion;she played boss in dat movie;and was awsome;she is d best actress nigeria can have;so much love her;damilola aint good;love rita too;dont knw tamara yet but will soon knw her;so much love mj she can act all roles;wud u tell genevieve or omotola to act dumebi d dirty girl;fuck all mj haters

  54. Spekil

    December 22, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    By far one of the best in Ghallywood..that’s my girl Yvonne Okoro. Beautiful and talented!

  55. usothirsty

    January 10, 2014 at 2:21 am

    Im late but Mercy Johnson is silly to me Her acting comes off fake and her whiny voice screetches. I dont watch her movies because of it. Genevieve is a bore, i dont see whats so exciting about her. Nse, Tonto, Rita, Martha Ankomah, onyi alex and others are good. Yvonne okoro shouldnt b on list.

  56. flourish

    March 21, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    my mercy Johnson is my best and natural, unique actress of the year .

  57. Tassim Braimah

    July 13, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    Mercy johnson all the way

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