For those who may not agree with me on the choice of actresses in this list, you are free to draw your own conclusions. However, note that this is not a list of ‘The Top Actresses in Nollywood based on over-exposure on Red Carpets’ or some whimsical fan base.
This list is based on talent, characterisation, body of artistic work for the year in review
and most of all interpretation of the roles the actresses played.
I watched a number of films this year and as many as were being churned out in all the zones, I had to pin-point my search to specifics.
None was judged on nebulous criteria such as ‘how many years one has spent acting’ or awards won in other climes in the year in question. Whether new or old, the actresses on this list gave a rousing performance in 2013 and I applaud them.
So, here are the Best 5 Nollywood Actresses in 2013.
NUMBER 5: RITA DOMINIC
Rita had a good year. Winning ‘Best Actress’ a couple of times (among many nominations ) for the movie ‘The Meeting’. I also watched her in another recently released movie, ‘Finding Mercy’ but felt that she gave a listless and lukewarm performance in that flick. In ‘The Meeting’, Rita was smoking. I would say that for the first time since I have been seeing her in movies, she found the right script which explored her acting depths.
Rita Dominic has more to prove in Nollywood, either as an actress or as a Producer. If it is the former, then she has to be careful about her choice of scripts from now on because there might be false slips ahead. A good actress anyday, she is.
NUMBER 4: YVONNE OKORO
Now this would raise eyebrows with people asking if Yvonne is from Nollywood since she is associated more with Ghana. Nomencletures do not matter to me. Nollywood is a global brand and is a huge platform for all African actors to make their mark.
I must confess that I had not watched much of Yvonne’s movies before ‘The Contract’. I just knew her name from a few social media buzz which was neither here nor there for me. So when I watched her performance in ‘The Contract’, my curiousity gave way to admiration. She interpreted the role quite well. There was an almost effortless transistion of moods and emotions in her characterisation and she had the audience eating out of the palms of her hands all through the movie.
NUMBER 3: DAMILOLA ADEGBITE
A surprise resignation from ‘TINSEL’in 2012 , made most people wonder if Damilola knew what she was doing. She gave reasons for leaving the televsion serial; to concentrate on her acting career. Watching her in Michelle Bello’s ‘Flower Girl’ brought home the wisdom in her career curve.
I have always held the notion that Damilola has a powerful screen presence. There’s something sultry and appealing about her looks on screen. Very few actors have that aura. In Damilola’s case, I thought it wasn’t yet explored to the maximum. In ‘Flower Girl’, that screen aura combined with a visible attempt at internalisation and visualisation by Damilola in her role, made many see her in a whole new light. Finally, the stirrings of a Super Actress is beginning to show.
NUMBER 2: TAMARA ETIENO
Many people would not remember her name and it is likely many would have forgotten her as the winner of ‘The Next Movie Star’ Reality show a couple of years back
Tamara was simply awesome in the movie ‘Desperate Housegirls’! She gave an organic and jaw-dropping performance which must her won her new fans and etched her name somewhere on the consciousness of movie lovers. There was a closeness to method acting when watching her in ‘Desperate Housegirls’ and she must be commended for making acting interesting again especially as we have been assailed with talentless actors and actresses in the past few years. I predict that Tamara is going to shine in a few months
NUMBER 1: MERCY JOHNSON
Mercy would be my number one choice for ‘Best Actress’ in 2013. She has simply been awesome in the her movies this year. There’s something ultra-natural and organic about Mercy Johnson which confounds even her critics. She can act. She delivers. In four movies I watched in 2013, which she starred in, she was the epitome of delightful characterisation. Watch her in the ‘Dumebi’ spawn of movies and you would appreciate how her talent has evolved since she came back from her Maternity Break.
Mercy is a chameleonic actress, one with the uncanny ability to immerse herself in her roles. She can play the victimised House Maid in one movie and switch to the Lady Boss in the next. In fact, if the role suits her, she comes out smoking.
She is arguably the Best Actress for 2013. You can quote me on that.