2016 Year In Review

#2016YearInReview: MoviePencil’s Favorite Acting Performances – Female

My phone, Twitter and Instagram will not allow me be great and finish this post, but I must.

I hope you’ve had a chance to check out my favorite male acting performances for 2016, if not click here.

Up next on the year-end roaster, are my favorite 2016 female acting performances in films released in cinema. The reason I have stuck to cinema films is because I have a thing for the big screen and I’m passionate about the improvements Nigerian films have had to imbibe for the fear of a cinematic release – you see, the big screen does not forgive technical inefficiencies and will help you loud it well.

Not that there haven’t been amazing performances off the big screen, there surely have, but since I do not watch TV and can only comment on performances from content available online, I’ve decided to limit my list to cinema films.

Without much ado, here are MoviePencil’s top female performances in a 2016 feature film made for cinema:

12. Ufuoma McDermott and Uche Jombo in Wives on Strike:

Wives on strike featured an ensemble cast tackling a serious issue on a light note. Among the cast though, two performances stood out, Mama Amina played by Ufuoma McDermott who is struggling with a very cultural and religiously fragile situation and Madame 12:30 played by Uche Jombo who has pledged solidarity to her womenfolk in a bid to shed light to the prejudices they face.

11. Kehinde Bankole in 8 Bars & A Clef:

Kenny B has had a good year appearing in films like Beyond Blood, Dinner and Wives on Strike, however, it is her performance in Chioma Onyenwe’s 8 Bars & A Clef that stood out the most.

10. Kiki Omeili in Couple of Days:

Every group of girlfriends seems to have that one tough talking member that has an opinion about everything, shares a lot but never really shares it all and is probably the one with the deepest flaws/issues. Such is the case for Joke in Lord Tanner’s Couple of Days, who is every bit as fiery as she is annoying.

9. Judith Audu in Just Not Married

Just Not Married is one of my favorite films for the year 2016. I enjoyed the gritty unpretentious nature of the plot and the performances from the cast. As you saw, about three of the male cast made my favorite male performances of 2016 so it’s not far fetched that the lead female cast will also follow suit. Judith Audu plays her part convincingly, bringing to life Keji, the side kick and a worthy balance to all the testosterone flying around in this flick.

8. Ini Dima Okojie in North East

Ini Dima Okojie has been acting in Nollywood for just a few years but is already falling into the trap the industry subtly sets for its actors/actresses – typecasting. It was therefore very good to see her tackle the role of Hadiza in Muyiwa Aluko’s North East showing that she could be way more than the annoying entitled super b**ch we’ve seen her tackle on screen in recent days.

7. Ireti Doyle in The Arbitration / The Wedding Party

Ireti Doyle is one of Nollywood’s top tier actors and is kinda the go to person when Directors need a middle-aged sophisticated woman on screen. This year, she gave us life as brilliant lawyer Funlayo Johnson in Niyi Akinmolayan’s, ‘The Arbitration’ then turned it up as wicked mother-in-law of the east in Kemi Adetiba’s, ‘The Wedding Party’. For those who have seen both films, you would agree with me that Mrs Doyle shows no signs of slowing down and intends to keep hitting our screen with timeless grace.


6. Lala Akindoju in Surulere

Onigbese, pay or pack comot!! My favorite line in the movie Surulere, uttered repeatedly by Mama Landlady played by the delectable Kemi Lala Akindoju. But its her role as Beauty that had me in stitches…. ‘the upward twirl of her lips, the perpetual frown and irritability, the way she mixes and matches are dressing pronounce just how ironic her given name is. Kemi Lala is a star and her superb delivery of both characters just proves it.

5. Rita Dominic in ‘76

After watching Izu Ojukwu’s ’76, the only question was how high Rita Dominic would fall on this list. You see, since ‘The Meeting’, I’ve found a new love for this beauty who keeps stepping up her game on screen.

She started the year by showing us that even with minimal screen time, one could steal the show playing the Akara seller in Surulere, but it’s her role as Suzie that crowns her as one of the most versatile actors in Nigerian Cinema. It’s going to be tough for her not to win the AMVCA for best actress next year, but let’s see how that goes.

4. Sola Sobowale in The Wedding Party

Sola Sobowale is Bae. End Of Story!! You see all that buzz The Wedding Party is generating, more than 50% is due to her performance in the film. She probably has given us the most memorable female character in film for 2016 – Tin Tin, Mama Dunni! The typical Yoruba mother you can’t help but fall in love with – I do hope to see more of her in 2017.

3. Bimbo Akintola in 8 Bars & A Clef / 93 Days

Bimbo Akintola is a power actress. An established actress who does an amazing job portraying characters whose emotions transcend the screen and get under your skin. It was therefore no surprise to see her tackle two of 2016’s top female characters in Nollywood.

For 8 Bars, she plays the dysfunctional mother with misplaced priorities then switches it up to play Dr. Adadevoh one of Nigeria’s new age heroes, in 93 Days. Here’s to many more years of Bimbo Akintola delivering power characters for us on screen.

2. Somkele Idhalama in 93 Days / The Arbitration

2016 is the year Somkele stamped herself in my mind and I’m sure in the minds of many Nigerians as an actress to watch out for. You see before now, I had only seen her in Gidi Up, but this year, she seems to be everywhere. She is the only actor to be in not one, not two but three of the eight films selected to represent Lagos at TIFF.

I won’t be forgetting in a hurry, her portrayal of Dr. Ada Igonoh in Steve Gukas’ 93 Days, neither will I be quick to get over her role as Omawunmi Horsefall, the brave lawyer and loyal friend to Adesuwa Etomi’s Dara Olujobi.

Somkele definitely came to win in 2016. Let’s hope she stays winning.

1. Adesua Etomi in The Arbitration

Adesua Etomi is currently the best actress in Africa according to her AMVCA gong. Unfortunately, I am unable to comment on that as I have not seen Falling. Moving on from Falling though, I have seen most of her subsequent films, from Out of Luck to Couple of Days, The Arbitration to The Wedding Party.

While I concur that she’s a talented actress (who can kiss for the entire Nigeria and some), it’s her portrayal of Dara Olujobi in Niyi Akinmolayan’s, The Arbitration, that sealed my love for her. The nuances, the expressions, the wit, the OMG! Talk about a woman scorned on a path to justice.

2016 has been a good year, but I believe it was great year for Ms Dara Olujobi. I don’t think she’s feeling this recession you people are talking about.

That’s it for my favorite female performances. Don’t forget to check out the top guys, and stay tuned for the final year-end list of my favorite films of 2016.

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