On Monday night (28 January), watched by audiences in 47 African countries, the nominees for the first-ever AfricaMagic Viewersâ€™ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) were revealed during a special edition of lifestyle program 53 Extra. Held in association with MultiChoice, and headline sponsor Amstel Malta, the AMVCAs recognizes and rewards excellence in African film and TV.
Announcing the nominees were stylish Eku Edewor and Dolopo Oni, joined by Jara co-hosts Uti Nwachukwu (Big Brother All Stars winner) and Helen Paul, Biola Alabi (M-Net Africa MD), Femi Odugbemi (AMVCA Executive Judge), Lizz Njagah (Kenyan soap and reality star)Â and Edem Vindah (Media and Public Affairs Manager, Nigerian Breweries PLC). Also in studio was the elegant AMVCA trophy!
Encompassing 28 awards in 26 categories, the AMVCAs includes 6 categories where viewers will vote for winners and 18 more technically focused categories where winners will be selected by an expert industry based judging panel (judges will be announced at a later date).
This judging panel will also select the rising star TrailBlazer of the Year, and the Industry Merit recipient, a veteran industry professional whose long term contribution will be honored.
And ensuring the awards specifically recognize outstanding achievement, the AMVCAs did not name nominees in two categories (Best Documentary and Best Online Video) as the nominee selection team had preferred to award certificates of encouragement instead to all entrants.
Understanding that there will be a great curiosity about the initial selection team responsible for the nominees list, tonightâ€™s show revealed their identities. They are Allison Triegaardt, Armand-Guy de Beer, Bongiwe Selane, Deborah Odutayo, Ebou Waggeh, Eileen Sandrock, Njoki Muhoho, Phad Mutumba and Richard West. Together this expert team has an extraordinary range of experience and an impressive passion for the art of African storytelling. More info on these accomplished individuals is available at www.africamagic.tv.
Joining this nominee selection team in January was the accounting firm Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo, who will also verify all winner results going forward.
M-Net Africa MD Biola Alabi says, â€śWe want the AMVCAs to be transparent, credible, respected and fair. So we selected people to the nominee selection team who embrace this philosophy. We will do the same when selecting the industry judging panel that will pick winners in certain categories. We know that everyone associated with these awards must be diligent and conduct themselves with integrity during what are challenging, tough processes. At this time, I must also say that we are truly delighted with the list of nominees and we wish them all well. Roll on March, we couldnâ€™t be more excited about the big night and promise TV audiences an event to remember!â€ť
However, the focus of the night was the nominees and leading the way was South African hit Otelo Burning with 14 nominations while Nigeriaâ€™s brilliant The Mirror Boy grabbed 11, just in front of Man on Ground, another powerful Nigerian offering which garnered 9 nominations.
Other titles scoring multiple nominations included Perfect Picture (8), Two Brides and a Baby (7), Maami (5) and Skeem (5). In total, there were 110 nominees chosen from 43 different productions from countries as diverse as Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Meanwhile, some of the most eagerly awaited categories also boasted high profile nominees.
In the category for Best Actress in a Drama, the nominees are Bubu Mazibuko, Genevieve Nnaji, Nolwazi Shange, Funke Akindele and Jackie Appiah while in the Best Actress in a Comedy category Funke Akindele, Lilian Esoro and Mercy Johnson are all in the running. In the Best Actor in a Drama category, the nominees are Fabian Adeoye Lojede, O.C Ukeje, Kenneth Uphopho, Edward Kagutuzi and Jafta Mamabolo. Nominees for Best Actor in a Comedy are Hafiz Oyetoro, Kunle Bamtefa, Bovi Ugboma, Francis Odega and Ikhide Isaac.
And in the Best Movie Overall category are Skeem (Tim Greene), Man on Ground (Akin Omotoso, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Hakeem Kae-Kazim and Rosie Motene), Jozi King (Jamie Ramsay), Otelo Burning (Sara Blecher) and The Mirror Boy (Obi Emelonye).
MultiChoice Africa CEO, Nico Meyer congratulated all the nominees: â€śWell done to all the selected nominees. The AfricaMagic Viewerâ€™s Choice Awards recognises your hard work, passion and dedication to your trade. The contribution you have made into the development of the African film and television industry is very significant and tonight we honour your role. Keep up the good work and we wish you all the best for the big announcement of winners in March.â€ť
Speaking for the sponsor, Edem Vindah (Media and Public Affairs Manager), said: â€śAt the core of the Amstel Malta brand is the conviction that everyone has what it takes to be the best. The brand therefore believes in providing platforms that not only give opportunity to young talented individuals but also inspiration. AMVCA is a platform that recognizes and celebrates the best in the movie and TV industry; a platform of inspiration to encourage young talents in the industry to ensure they make smart choices that will show their originality and that they are unique and discerning individuals that deserve to be recognized and rewarded.â€ť
Now, while the judges deliberate on the non-viewer voted categories, viewers can also start casting their votes for the 6 all-important viewer voted categories. Voting begins on Monday January 28 at 23:00 CAT and closes at midnight CAT on 3 March, 2013. Viewers can vote via WEB, WAP or SMS.
And keep watching the AfricaMagic channels which will profile the nominees over the next few weeks to ensure you know whoâ€™s who! Remember the first- ever AfricaMagic Viewersâ€™ Choice Awards will be screened on DStv and GOtv on Saturday 9 March, live from Lagos. So get ready to check out the fashion on the red carpet, to hear the winnerâ€™s speeches and of course, to celebrate great African talent!