BY SHAMAN MOMOH
After film journalist and head of the Africa Movie Academy Awards jury, Shaibu Husseini announced the nominees for this year’s increasingly underwhelming AMAA on Sunday, I began to wonder. Before anyone starts thinking of Fela or Femi, let me correct myself – I began to ask myself why FIFTY has the highest nominations from Nigeria. What does this tell us?
No doubt Mo Abudu and her people’s hustle and aggressive publicity ensured that the film made a lot of money all-round. Most likely not as much as they claimed and far below what was expended on that pretty expensive and unnecessary flick. FIFTY spent ages in the cinemas, no doubt and because of the noise, a lot of people wanted to see it. But after being dazed by a million shots of the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge and four women trying woefully to convince us that they are going-a-fifty, many of us who walked into the cinema halls walked out with limp entertainment buds. There is no way anyone would convince me that word of mouth did anything good to the run of this film. But I digress, this is not a review of FIFTY. There is one here, here and another one by the oyinbos here.
This post is about how on earth such a poorly made film led the AMAA list of feature film nominees from Nigeria with SIX nods. These nominations came in the categories of Achievement in Cinematography, Achievement in Sound, Best Nigerian Film, Best Actress in a Leading Role (all four of Ireti, Nse, Omoni and Dakore), Best Director and Best Film. Cinematography and sound, maybe. But, best director and best film in AFRICA?
Dry and A Soldier’s Story were tied in second place with four nominations each, but truth is, publicity aside, these two were arguably better made films even with budgets dwarfed by FIFTY. I know sentiments have no place in deciding films fit for awards but permit me to remind you, and I, that while FIFTY was a cougar-themed film, Dry was trying to remind us of the dangers of child bride and the likes.
I honestly see FIFTY standing no chance in the best film category. It shouldn’t even be in that list anyway. I am thankful that AMAA isn’t a popularity contest or one where social media presence decides where the trophies go. But if FIFTY is indeed the best film out of Nigeria in the period under review, it is an indictment on the quality of films Nollywood produced. Like a friend remarked, if 2 good films and 6 bad films are submitted for consideration in a category where you need need to pick 5 nominees, it is inevitable that you will pick 3 bad films to add to the 2 good ones.
Maybe that’s simply the case. Meanwhile, I heard Road to Yesterday didn’t even bother showing up.