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Charles Novia: The Best 5 Actresses in Nollywood in 2017



Using my annual templates of characterisation, internalisation, visualisation and articulation as score points, here are my Best 5 actresses…


Kate Henshaw

After a hiatus of sorts, perhaps ‘building up’ somewhere (if the pun is noticed), Kate returned and showed her prowess in two movies in 2017; ‘Roti’ and ‘The Women’. Showing her trademark ability to interpret roles in genres, Kate had a point to prove with her return to the big screen. I was impressed.

I later found out that Zynell is a Ghanaian after I watched her in ‘Hire a Man’. Doesn’t matter. She was quite good in the movie and I had to search her out in a couple of other movies in the preceding year too. There’s an intensity in her acting and this lady knows her onions (or would one say her jollof since she’s from Ghana!). One to watch, this Zynell.

In the Africa Magic popular series, ‘Battleground’, Shaffy is a delight to watch as she interpretes her role with great panache and precision. She’s got one of the best articulation I have ever heard in the industry and though, she’s much too overexposed in other TV series too, she is quite an actress. Well done, Shaffy!

A return to the big screen after some years in hiatus, saw Omotola sizzle in the movie ‘Alter Ego’ where she plays a mentally challenged lady with deep conflicts. She was also outstanding in the movie ‘The Tribunal’ as Arese. It was a good comeback for Omotola in 2017 and worthy of mention…and awards too.

I must confess I had no clue who Omowunmi Dada was at the beginning of the year. I kid you not. But seeing her in ‘Omugwo’ startled me and I began asking questions and got pleasant answers. I backtracked to a few other movies she featured in over the years and also watched her much on ‘Jemeji’. This is an actress on the rise and one who will blow..or has blown? It doesn’t matter. There is a pristine naturalism in Ms Dada’s acting and she is a delight to watch. Two thumbs up. She’s my pick for The Best Actress in 2017


For more from Charles Novia, head over to his Instagram page here. Charles Novia is an award-winning avant garde Nollywood Filmmaker, author,  culture critic, social commentator and media entrepreneur.


  1. King bey

    December 6, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I don’t know how Omowunmi Dada but make I follow famz…kikikik…Mama Tee well done.

  2. isaobi

    December 6, 2017 at 10:54 am

    I fairly endorse your choice for actresses of the year. However, the cross over actresses of the year, namely Toyin Abraham and Rahama Sadau deserve some commendation.

  3. Ama

    December 6, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Shaffy Bello….yaaass!

    • xx

      December 6, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Asin yes. Her articulation, her acting, her carriage. omg. I wish she was my aunty.

  4. Baymax

    December 6, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Don’t agree with ur final pick for best actress this year. She’s good but not the best this year. I barely noticed her as Patience Ozokwor and Ayo Adesanya were better actresses and more memorable in Omugwo.

  5. Sera

    December 6, 2017 at 11:45 am

    I’ve been seeing Toni Tones in so many movies lately and she is just sooooo good. She is my favourite actress at the moment.

  6. Bee

    December 6, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Shaffy Bello for the win pls, the woman is such class. And my girl from small Omowunmi Dada, weldone babes keep making us proud

  7. B

    December 6, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I endorse this message lol! I love Omowunmi Dada in Jemeji, very natural and believable. I love me some Adaora (Shaffy Bello) in Battleground, my best scene till date was the way she beat up Cissy (Yinka Davies) lol!

  8. Annie

    December 6, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Shaffy Bello for the win jor!

  9. Baby gurl

    December 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Shaffy Bello, Toyin Abraham and Rahama Sadau were my screen queens of 2017. @isaobi we sure have the same tastes in film. Thank you BN/Charles for this short review. The longer ones used to spin my brain lol. I remember last year’s review haha.

  10. JOS BOY

    December 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I think the best actress this year should have been RAHAMA SADAU- She crossed over from the hausa dominated film industry to dominate Nollywood this year with performances in TATU, ACCIDENTAL SPY, SONS OF THE CALIPHATE 2, HAKUNDE , AJUWAYA etc.

  11. Roli

    December 6, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Omotola is still my best actress this year. Did an amazing job hands down in AlterEgo but as almost a silent character in that Albino movie? She earned my respect on a different level. Not sure how the Omowunmi girl even came up. Preferred the girl in Albino movie with Omotola to her and of course Aunty shaffy as a close alternative

  12. sussy

    December 7, 2017 at 4:02 am

    I must confess Toni tones also impressed me this year, another actress to watch out for is Bimbo Ademola, I have always loved Zynell after watching the movie #Love Regardless she is so passionate. And Shaffy Bello I wished I had an aunt like her, I will use her to “shako”, her diction and acting is effortless

  13. Ephi

    December 7, 2017 at 4:41 pm

    Ruth Kadiri is another brilliant versatile actress whose movies I enjoy.
    Shaffy Bello I find her overly dramatic in her acting, but she’s got great diction.
    Zynell I’ve seen once in a movie, was okay, not fantastic in my opinion.

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