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Charles Novia lists his ‘Best 5 Nollywood Actresses of 2015’

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Oge Okoye Stephanie Linus

In what has now become an annual and personal reward system for actors of sorts, which I feel is needed for an ingrained development for Nollywood, my annual list of ‘Best Actresses and Best Actors’ in Nollywood for the year has been something for me to look forward to compiling as with what many readers of my critiques also look forward to reading.

In 2013, Mercy Johnson got the top diadem from me and in 2014, Nse Ikpe Etim got the Best Actress award. For the year 2015, I and my usual team of professional critics sat downonce again to draw up a list after watching a number of films through the year. But something quite interesting caught my attention this year; the rise of television series on Nigerian television more than ever in terms of quality and direction. This development seems to have been triggered off by Africa Magic and its original films and commissioned fares and other established independent producers caught the bug too.

Thus, whilst I and my team did a lot of film watching, we also could not ignore the power of the acting in some television series we watched and followed and I decided to also add some actresses who did quite well in such series to my list.

This year, I must give Special Mention to some actresses who did not make my list in the top five category (and it was difficult making a final choice for this year, I must admit) but are surely in my top ten list which unfortunately cannot be expanded as the template is only for five persons annually. These actresses are  FATHIA BALOGUN for the movie ‘Torera’ and HILDA DOKUBO for the movie ‘STIGMA’. I applaud these actors and wish them all the best.

Using the usual templates of Interpretation, Characterization, Internalization, enunciation and the actor’s visualization of the role portrayed, the following are my Top Five Actresses for the year 2015….

Oge Okoye

BN-Exclusive_-Oge-Okoye-covers-Jemima-Magazine-July-2013-BellaNaija-026

Sometimes, actors get to a curve in their careers which, when taken, becomes the catalyst for a resurgence in their artistry. Having featured in perhaps hundreds of Nollywood movies, most of which might be termed second-bit in execution which helped in making her a stereotype, Oge found the right vehicle for the critiquing of her acting prowess in ‘Hotel Majestic’, the telenovela series on Africa Magic. In her role as a feisty Room Service Worker in the series, one can tell she energises her character with a passion and with nuances which are not overtly over the top nor in anyway under-interpreted. She makes the character both irritating and fascinating at the same time. Whatever it is she set out to prove in the series, I would say she has considerably achieved and might go on to achieve more if she is circumspect about taking another curve which might take her back to the ‘Asaba-esque’style of acting before now.

Genevieve Nnaji

genevieve nnaji at Onyinye Onwugbenu & Bosah Chukwuogo Wedding April 2015 - 2

In ‘Road to Yesterday’, her debut opus as a Producer, Genevieve strives to show the world a double intention of talent, one behind the camera and the usual in front of it. She plays the role of a self-tortured wife who goes through a distended stream of consciousness as she trudges a symbolic road to her personal anagnorisis. In her interpretation of the role, Genevieve gives her panache, which at times borders on wooden reactions to expressions of emotions which seem restrained rather than reactive. However, she gets the audience’s empathy in her portrayal which says a lot. There was a sublimal message in her acting this time; a ‘Bow down , Bitches’ underlying theme to her challengers and I would think she pulled it off somewhat to make her statement; that she’s back on the turf.

Weruche Opia

For-Coloured-Girls-Nigerian-Stage-Play-Adaptation-December-2011-BellaNaija-006

It was a pleasant surprise to watch ‘WHEN LOVE HAPPENS’a few months ago and to note that a new stand-out actress had all the points for her interpretation and almost perfect portrayal of her character. Weruchie Opia, new to me and to many others on the scene, packs quite a punch and her portrayal of the character Mo Bankole-Smith was well-executed and I could see that she gave credible attention to the ‘Whys, Wherefores, Whats and When’of her character in every scene. The movie is a romantic comedy and with Weruchie, there was no overt attempt to be over-the-top in exaggerations as directed or subtlety as required. This young lady is one to watch out for in Nollywood, if she’s going to be staple in the industry and not only would I make her my Number 3, I would also endorese her as the ‘Best New Actress’for the year, notwithstanding if she might have done any other movie before this. Such was the breath of Fresh Air she brought on the scene.

Ivie Okujaiye

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Perhaps in 2015, more than ever in her career thus far, Ivie proved to everyone that she packs more than a punch. Her role as a beguiled Room Service worker in ‘Hotel Majestic’ is one which she obviously gives her all and takes the viewers into the psyche of her character. The viewers feel her pains, her indecisions, her minute happiness and all what the character has to show. Ivie dexterously IS that character; a pleasure to watch for the critics and one who is undoubtedly the backbone of the series. I predicted a few years ago after she won the AMBO reality talent hunt that she would go far in the industry. It ‘hasn’t taken her that long to cover a huge distance.

Stephanie Linus

Stephanie-Linus

Stephanie Linus would be my choice for the Number One spot in 2015. Her portrayal of Dr Zara in her self-directed movie ‘Dry’, had some flashes of brilliance and intensity which showed a brilliance in interpretation and internalization. Perhaps, the poignant theme of the movie, which borders on the stigma of VVF in the underaged females in Northern Nigeria added to the sympathy value for her character but that she was able to pull it off convincingly in my opinion speaks volumes about her attention to the intricacies required from the character. Stephanie perhaps merged her cause as an actress and director into the passion of the character and successfully blotted blurred lines about her artistry in the movie. What finally won it for me was the long scene where she gave a monologue in front of a large crowd at the National Assembly. She was sterling in that scene, a culmination of her character build-up and a great crescendo. Having being off the scene for a while, her comeback is deservedly a delight and it is likely she will get more laurels for this movie in 2016.

Head over to http://www.charlesnoviadaily.com/ for more of his articles.

36 Comments

  1. didizecks

    December 11, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Oh yes!!!!!! Genevieve made the cut! @ least Charles decided to say the truth!!!! Oge made the list too. That’s cool…

  2. Great Lady

    December 11, 2015 at 11:40 am

    This guy must really think he’s the god of nolly wood or something.

    • Bev

      December 12, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      Whether you may want to agree or not, the guy is good .He is an objective critic and he does it well. He says it like it is and doesn’t butter it with niceties. That is a quality for a good a good critic.

  3. zee

    December 11, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Dis Charles Novia can sha criticize..although I agree with this list; Oge is bae on that hotel Majestic soap, Gene can do no wrong in my eyes, and Stephanie, dang! That girl is fyn, no homo. Hasn’t she put to bed yet?

  4. Sugar

    December 11, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Where is Omotola Jalade loool. aint throwing shade ooo

    • mban

      December 11, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      shes attending birthday in WARRI!!!! lol

    • ay

      December 11, 2015 at 3:17 pm

      ermm calm down..i see you guys are excited Genny is number 4. Standards fallen already? Im sure OmoT will be number 1 if if/when she produces her own movie and stars in it.. And well know who Charles Novia rates as a better actress dont we? yea i feel you..lets not go there..

    • squad

      December 11, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      Is it because she didnt produce her own movie to be featured among the list. Its easy, she can aswell produce her movie so it can look like she got an acting gig this year so keep calm while she makes her money making appearances and being a motivational speaker.

    • Omotolajaladelover

      December 11, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Lol epic fail!!!

  5. bruno

    December 11, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    abegi make we hear word. nigerian actresses dont push their craft to the limit at all. they dont challenge themselves with movie roles. unlike foreign actresses who push themselves above and beyond to bring the character they are portraying to life.
    how may times will genevive play the beautiful wife or girlfriend. biko its so tiring

    look at hilary swank in boys dont cry, she transformed herself into a boy for that movie. she cut her hair, she lost so much weight etc. that is what u call acting not this nonsense u nollywood actresses are doing.
    look at queen latifah in bessie, my gawd, she turn that movie out with her acting. one of the best performances this year.

    I haven’t seen the movie “Room” but according to what I have read, the actress in the movie (brie larson) turned it out. foreign actresses push the boundaries in acting that why the general public respects them.

    I havent seen that genevive’s new movie road to yesterday but I can bet it will be dry with wooden acting and cliché situations just like that horrible rita Dominic movie the meeting. what nonsense.

    nigerian actresses pls push ur self and ur craft.

    • kk

      December 11, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      bruno it seems u came here to throw shade at genevieve while trying to cover it up but what it is cannot be changed,ROAD TO YESTERDAY IS D BOMB ,GENEVIEVE killed it so chill HATER!!!!

    • Natu

      December 11, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      How is it shade if it’s the truth. She ain’t no actress!!!

    • Omotolajaladelover

      December 11, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      Sentiments aside, Mercy Johnson is the best actress in Nollywood. Queen nwokoye is a good actress too! Of course my omoT too.

    • Bev

      December 12, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      I think so too. Watch any of her movies and see this lady interprets roles differently. Not stereotypes like many others

    • Natu

      December 11, 2015 at 7:04 pm

      Bessie was so good. Queen latifah really did her justice.

  6. MAN

    December 11, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I’m a die-hard fan of Genevieve and I absolutely adore her but I love what Bruno said. But we need in Nigeria is more excellent script writers. Genevieve is a very talented actress and she’s done all manner of roles from Action Lady in 30 days to a rape victim in Tango With Me to a distressed Mother in Mirror boy to a whore/player in sharon stone to an outcast in Ijele to a warrior in Warrior’s Heart to a miscreant in Blood Sisters to an innocent soul in Sisters’ love to a sociopath in Sleep Walker to an obsessed lover in Blood for Tears to a seer in Emerald to a blind girl in Wind Of Glory and more recently, a troubled wife in Road To Yesterday. Genevieve doesn’t love bn pretty in movies but she’s a naturally pretty woman with or without make up. These movies and many more show Genevieve as a bundle of talent and someone who will do good in any given role. But we need more excellent script writers in Nollywood. That is the only way we can see versatility in our actors n actresses. I’m glad that the production quality has improved in all ramifications but we need more improvement and I believe the recent competition in Nollywood will bring this to fruition.

    • ...just saying

      December 11, 2015 at 10:28 pm

      Lol! Genevieve squad, nice try. Fact still remains her roles are stereotype. She’s always divalicious…Rape or mother. A real actor can switch things up always

    • Bev

      December 12, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      I thought I was the only one that think Genevieve’s roles are stereotype.,plus she only has one facial expression for all roles. I personally think a good actress should have different expression for different roles. That’s why I still duff my hat for Mercy Johnson, that lady sure knows how to interpret roles differently.

  7. Gbemi

    December 11, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Well at least we know what Charles Novia has been doing this year … While some were working, he was watching movies

    • Charles Novia

      December 11, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Well, Gbemi, I’m none the poorer for ” watching movies ” as you wrote. Within the structures of the entertainment industry, it’s actually a great honour to watch movies and make observations which helps the overall intellectual traction of the industry. But just to satisfy your perceived snide remark, 2015 as with other years, was a great year for me and my company. In between producing original content for my soon-to-launch television channel in 2016, Teen Africa TV, which has been licensed by the FG for broadcast, I have been on film panels and festival committees in major film festivals in the world. Some people are quite circumspect enough not to go on social networks to splash what they have been doing just to satisfy idle curiosities.

    • A Charles Novia Fan

      December 11, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      Charles Novia!!!

      Saw you in Silverbird Abuja at an event but was too shy to say hi. (was sincerely scared you’ll be cold to me as you looked super busy)

      Love your articles, even when I don’t agree with your views at times.
      Success in your endeavors for 2016.

    • Gbemi

      December 11, 2015 at 10:07 pm

      Congrats, so the things is paining you .. Sorry.. That is how some people feel when you criticize them ..

    • Gbemi

      December 11, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      * thing

    • ...just saying

      December 11, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Lol! Charles Novia, did you actually type this? It did pain you much. Pele….Oh and by the way, ever heard of the golden rule of TV? Show viewers, never ever tell. You should have left the launch of the channel to speak for itself and not try to prove your “future”. It’s so easy to review and criticise mate, we can’t wait to see your own content ..

  8. Foxtrot

    December 11, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Linda Ejiofor should be on this list!

    Also – please go and see “Out of Luck” this weekend! Its showing at the Genesis Cinemas and FilmHouse sinemas. Its a really really good film!

    • Foxtrot

      December 11, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      “cinemas”

  9. Nameoh

    December 11, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Uncle Charles needs to gerrarahere with his flawed list! Where is adesua etomi on the list? Where is nse ikpe etim? These two can school everyone on his nonsense list on to act

    • ur mad

      December 11, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      who is adesuwa etimi and nse for what performance of 2015 to compete this atresses, u better think before saying trash or better still wait for AMVCA nominations and see if atleast 2 from this list dont make the best actress nominees

    • Reply

      December 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Who is this bozo talking to? You can air your opinions without resorting to insults, ode.

  10. bobo

    December 11, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    was abt saying thesame thing ADESUWA ETIMI cannot match any of d works of this actesses at least for now, stop confusing fine face and real deep talent,

    • Puzzles

      December 11, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      it’s ETOMI. Chai! Don’t spoil my namesake’s name jor

  11. Moyo

    December 11, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    For once, I agree with Mr Novia’s views

  12. linda

    December 11, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Of course Charles Novia had to throw shade in his write up on Genevieve. I also think Adesua Etomi deserved to be on that list too, at least a special mention. She had a very good year with Falling, Soldier’s story and Out of Luck

  13. smiles

    December 11, 2015 at 6:14 pm

    @Bruno,yes Brie Larson did a very good job in ¨Room¨,but also give kudos to our Nigerian acts,
    You cannot compare Nigerian scripts,psychological acceptance and interpretation to Hollywood movies. We are not there yet but,from what I am seeing especially from some of these new actors……………¨Rome was not built in a day¨!
    We will get there.

  14. MsTilii

    December 11, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    why isnt Rita Dominic on the list
    hmm not sure about his your list
    To each his own

  15. Iya

    December 12, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    The only person I agree with on this list apart from Ivie is Oge Okoye. Naaaahhhh leave everything Oge MURDERS her role in Hotel Majestic!

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