The AMVCA Diaries: Meet the women who stole the screen as ‘Best Supporting Actress’

The AMVCA Diaries: Meet the women who stole the screen as 'Best Supporting Actress

The 2024 AMVCA awards are just around the corner, and the anticipation is palpable. While we eagerly await the red carpet glamour, we’re even more excited about seeing our beloved stars stride across the stage to receive their well-deserved accolades for their outstanding film performances throughout 2023. This year’s films have showcased some significant breakthroughs and themes, such as powerful narratives that spotlight women’s resilience in the face of societal challenges, deeper explorations of African folklore and spirituality, and compelling portrayals of historical struggles and triumphs.

For this edition of the AMVCA Nominee Diaries, we’re focusing on the remarkable women nominated in the “Best Supporting Actress” category. Their performances have not only elevated the storytelling in these films but have also sparked important conversations around gender roles, cultural heritage, and social justice. Let’s dive in and discover why these extraordinary actresses leave us wondering who deserves to take home the award!


The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are:

Joke Silva as “Engineer Suleiman”: Over the Bridge

Best Supporting Actress - Joke Silva

For decades, Joke Silva has been a powerhouse in African cinema, consistently delivering compelling performances that redefine the standards of film acting. In Over the Bridge, Silva shines as Engineer Suleiman, portraying a character not often seen on screen: a woman in engineering and leadership. Her nuanced performance challenges traditional portrayals, showing a woman who leads with both expertise and heart. Silva’s role resonates beyond the film, sparking conversations about gender equality in STEM fields and the importance of seeing more women in powerful roles, both on and off-screen.

Fathia Williams as “Erinfunto”: Jagun Jagun: The Warrior

Best Supporting Actress - Fathia Williams
image via instagram @femiadebayosalami

In Jagun Jagun: The Warrior, set against the rich tapestry of pre-colonial Yoruba land, Fathia Williams takes on the role of Erinfunto, the strategic and resilient wife of Ogundiji, a revered and formidable war merchant. Williams’ portrayal of Erinfunto not only enriches the film’s deep dive into Yoruba history and traditions but also brings a layered exploration of gender roles within this cultural context. Her character is far from just a supportive spouse; Erinfunto is pivotal in navigating the political intrigue that defines her husband’s world.

By skillfully intertwining the fates of key characters, including Ogundiji and his adversary, Gbotija, Erinfunto’s actions challenge traditional expectations of women’s roles in their communities. Williams’ performance highlights Erinfunto’s influence and agency, showcasing her as a woman who uses her intellect and political savvy to shape outcomes, thereby providing a nuanced view of women’s power in Yoruba society. This portrayal not only drives the film’s narrative but also sparks a broader reflection on the dynamic roles women played in the history and governance of their societies, solidifying her nomination as the Best Supporting Actress this year.

Bimbo Akintola as “Professor Craig”: The Black Book

In The Black Book, Bimbo Akintola delivers a riveting performance as Professor Craig, a character ensnared in a web of political corruption and personal tragedy. As a bereaved mother and wife, her portrayal brings an intense emotional depth to the film, particularly in a pivotal scene where she confronts the corrupt politician responsible for her family’s suffering.

Here, Akintola masterfully balances grief and steely resolve, her face a canvas of pain that subtly shifts into a mask of determined revenge. This scene is not only a turning point in the narrative but also a highlight of her acting prowess, evoking strong audience reactions and critical acclaim for its raw intensity and authenticity. Her performance adds a crucial layer to the film’s exploration of power dynamics and moral decay, making Professor Craig not just a victim of political games but a formidable player in her own right. Akintola’s ability to navigate these complex emotional landscapes makes her portrayal stand out, deepening the political narrative of the film while resonating deeply with viewers.

Genoveva Umeh as “Anna”: Breath of Life

Best Supporting Actress - Genoveva Umeh

In Breath of Life, Genoveva Umeh plays Anna, a character whose compelling depth and emotional resilience transform the film’s direction and deepen its themes of hope and redemption. Through pivotal scenes, including a powerful monologue, Anna becomes more than just a supporting character; she becomes the emotional core, challenging Elijah, portrayed by Chimezie Umoh, to confront and overcome his struggles. Umeh’s portrayal brilliantly navigates the complexities of human emotion, bringing a raw intensity that not only shifts the film’s narrative but also resonates deeply with the audience. Her ability to evoke hope and inspire change makes her performance stand out, highlighting her pivotal role in the film’s journey toward healing and forgiveness.

Eliane Umuhire as “Tshala”: Omen

For Omen, Elaine Umuhire portrays Tshala, a character wrestling with the complexities of identity and personhood amidst a backdrop of cultural and familial tensions. Her nuanced performance brilliantly captures the emotional and psychological struggles of balancing traditional expectations with personal ambitions, resonating deeply with viewers who may face similar dilemmas. As Tshala navigates these conflicts alongside her brother Koffie, played by Mark Zinga, Umuhire’s portrayal brings to light the broader societal issues of identity integration in modern times. This dynamic exploration in Omen not only enhances the film’s depth but also encourages audiences to reflect on their own self-definition and cultural reconciliation journeys, making Umuhire’s role both impactful and relatable.

Tana Adelana as “Mama Oby”: Ijogbon: Chaos

Best Supporting Actress - Tena Adelana

For Ijogbon, Tana Adelana masterfully plays Mama Oby, bringing a refreshing take on African motherhood and widowhood that challenges the usual stereotypes. As an Igbo widow living in a Yoruba society, Mama Oby balances the demands of being a loving yet protective mother while also navigating societal expectations and pressures. Adelana’s performance, filled with nuance and depth, portrays Mama Oby as a strong, complex woman who seamlessly integrates traditional values with modern assertiveness. This blend of characteristics adds a human touch to the film’s intense narrative, making Mama Oby both relatable and memorable, and prime candidate for Best Supporting Actress.

Ejiro Onojaife as “Ibukun”: The Origin: Madam Koi Koi

In The Origin: Madam Koi Koi, Ejiro Onojaife shines as Ibukun, a high school student who faces brutal bullying yet refuses to back down. Her character’s journey into the supernatural reflects deeper themes of bullying and revenge in school settings, making us question the boundaries between justice and retribution. Onojaife’s portrayal captures the intense emotional struggle and determination of Ibukun, showing how a seemingly ordinary teenager can invoke a vengeful spirit like Madam Koi Koi to fight back against her oppressors. Her performance not only adds depth to the storyline but also pushes us to rethink how we understand and handle bullying and the desire for revenge in real life.

There you have it: seven trailblazing women whose performances have reshaped this year’s cinematic landscape. Each actress brought her unique flair to roles that suited them perfectly and profoundly served their films’ narratives. With such stellar performances across the board, the competition is fierce, and we can’t wait to see who takes home the award. Who’s your pick for the Best Supporting Actress? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!


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