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AMVCA lives up to expectation

Posted: Mar 8, 2016 at 12:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Hazeez Balogun

The Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) have come and gone but it will continue to resonate on every one who witnessed the event both live at the venue or at home on television. The actors and movie makers whom the event was designed for will not forget the awards in a jiffy.

From the entrance of the Eko Hotel venue, one can tell that something massive was going on. There was a traffic jam at Adetokumbo Ademola Street, as an unprecedented number of vehicles tried to find their way into the hotel. Many ended up parking outside, and the ‘agberos’ had a field day.

Approaching the red carpet was another thing. The sheer number of celebrities would dazzle anyone. The carpet was very well thought out. There were about five different spots on the red carpet for celebrities to have their interviews, and this kept the line moving faster.

Before the event started, guests were treated to an open bar which served very chilled drinks supplied by Nigerian breweries (of course). And there was sushi, which many people passed on. We are not sushi lovers. The guests were split into two groups; the Gold and silver guests, whom of course are the VVIPs and the black guests who took to the ‘boy’s quarters’. All the same, all the seats in the house offered good view of the stage.

As tradition, the vent kicked off 7pm on the dot with a dance performance by The Star Act Dance Company. With their masked faces, they offered an Africa-centric performance which indeed was befitting for the Awards. Up next came the hosts, the duo of IK Osakioduwa and Minnie Dlamini. Together, they stirred the affairs of the night to an exciting climax.
After the opening, came the award presentations. There were also unforgettable performances. like the South African, Thomas Gumede the comedian. He cracked jokes about AMVCA being the African awards playing on the fact that the Oscars do not represent the blacks. There was also the very funny Ugandan, Salvador Gemede. By the time he was done, people were on their feet.

The most touching moment of the awards was when veteran actress, Bukky Ajayi was given the Industry Merit Award. She was wheeled on to the stage on her chair. In her acceptance speech, she expressed her joy and appreciation for being remembered. She even shed a tears when she asked, ‘are you all standing for me?’ She also has not lost her sense of humour, when she gave a ‘ganster-style’ peace sign and said, “Peace” just like Tupac would say it.

She won the award alongside Sadiq Daba who was unsurprisingly unavailable to receive it. Remember BON awards late last year? He was also not available to receive his award, even while he was there at the venue.

Other performances were by, Yemi Alade, who sang songs from her new album. The crowd were not familiar with the songs but she was entertaining all the same. Flavour too was in the house. He did not tear the roof down like he usually does, but he was his hyper self, thrusting his hips willy nilly. Dlamini had earlier announced him as the biggest Nigerian artiste, though he is not, he failed to live up to the hype.

Another highlight of the night was the announcement of the winner of the movie of the year. That is the biggest award and everyone was eager to know who it was. It was a keenly contested category and nominations were tight. There were seven nominees, Dry by Stephanie Linus, Freetown by Adam Abel and Garrett Batty, AYANDA by Sara Blecher, Tell Me Something Sweet by Akin Omotoso, Road To Yesterday by Chinny Onwugbenu, Genevieve Nnaji and Chichi Nwoko, Silverain by Juliet Asante, and House Arrest by Joseph Kenneth Ssebaggala. There was a huge roar in the house when the award went to Dry.

On the whole, the event was the biggest of it’s kind. What is worthy of note is the exceptional time consciousness. The event lasted for exactly two and a half hours. By 9:30, the event had ended. Many other awards are yet to start by that time. One could see the military precision with which the timing was managed. Even acceptance speeches that were running for too long were cut short and the next item followed. It was “international standard,” as Ik referred to it.

The choice of winners were for the most part credible and everyone sort of agreed to the choices. There were however some mumblings. For example, Usekwu Igbo, a cooking show won the Best Indigenous Movie/TV Series (Igbo). There was nothing wrong with that but many felt there were better Igbo dramas on air. Plus, the show is also on Africa Magic Igbo, a station under the Africa Magic family.

Another question is why ‘Dry’ won the best movie over all, when it could not win the best West African movie. It was almost as if there is a consensus to make it even, and allow ‘Road the Yesterday’ win something. But at the end of the day the whole decision is based on votes. Perhaps AMVCA will in the future be more transparent by making public the voting patterns.

The event was a beauty to behold and a lesson for other event organisers in the country. When Independent asked John Ugbe If they could ever top Saturday’s event he said, “Immediately the event ended, we have started planning for next year’s event. We are always striving to do a better show every time.”