AMVCA: Breath of Life Steals the Show, But Did A Tribe Called Judah Get Snubbed?




Even the most critical and perfunctory follower of Nollywood won’t have begrudged the aftermath of the recently-concluded 10th edition of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) that held on Saturday, May 11, 2024, which culminated in a sweeping victory for “Breath Of Life.”

Breath of Life won the Best Movie award at the awards besides receiving 11 nominations across various categories, including Best Movie, Best Director, and Best Lead Actor, winning in six categories.

Wale Ojo, the film’s lead, delivered a performance so powerful it snatched the Best Actor award right out of Elijah’s grasp (the character played by Chimezie Imo, not some biblical figure). Director BB Sasore and supporting actors Ademola Adedoyin and Genoveva Umeh also walked away with golden statuettes, solidifying “Breath of Life” as a force to be reckoned with.

Produced by the legendary Eku Edewor, “Breath of Life” is a cinematic sermon about faith and destiny, set against the backdrop of the groovy 1950s. It follows Timi, played with raw emotion by Wale Ojo, whose life takes a dramatic turn after a fateful encounter with Elijah.

Claims Of Prejudice Against A Tribe Called Judah

However, avid fans on social media alleged at prejudice against Funke Akindele’s A Tribe Called Judah, as the production lost all of its nominations.

Despite being nominated in multiple categories, including Best Makeup, Best Writing in a Movie, Best Lead Actress, Best Movie, and Best Supporting Actor, A Tribe of Judah failed to take home any awards.

As a result, Funke’s fans are convinced it’s a conspiracy, pointing to her powerhouse performance that somehow got eclipsed by Kehinde Bankole’s captivating role in “Adire” (which landed her the Best Lead Actress award).

The movie itself, A Tribe Called Judah, which made history by becoming the first Nollywood film to gross N1bn (One Billion Naira) within 21 days of its release, lost to Breath of Life in the Best Movie category.

This fact about ATCJ being Nollywood’s highest-selling movie was presented by Akindele’s fans as an argument for why it ought to have garnered some awards at the AMVCA but this is doing a huge disservice to the organisers of the awards.

Here’s the plot twist: for the first time ever, the AMVCAs ditched the public vote for key categories due to accusations of popularity trumping genuine talent. A jury (think fancy film professors) took the wheel, and some fans just can’t accept their choices.

For the first time in its history due to backlash from earlier awards, the AMVCA jettisoned its tradition of picking winners (in key categories) based on public votes. The organisers announced the decision to ise a jury in response to criticism that social media popularity has overshadowed genuine acting talent — the jury decided the Best Actor, Best Actress, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress categories.

Look, “A Tribe Called Judah” is a phenomenal movie, but so are “Adire” and “Breath of Life.” Both explore themes of redemption and overcoming past baggage with stunning plots. It’s apples and oranges, people! Let’s not diminish the brilliance of “Breath of Life” just because another film shattered box office records.

This is not an indictment on ATCJ which is a brilliant movie on its own right but comparison is often odious and facts are scarosanct.

Nollywood fans should learn to rein their emotions and try to keep issues in perspective while judging these works; afterall, all stakeholders want the same thing — a world-class, vibrant and thriving movie industry.

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