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FILMING AFRICA – Top Ten Nollywood Actors of 2018

We have always strongly believed in one and only one Nollywood, as against some that think there are two industries in one. If you are going by this then you can say that 2018 was a year of the “Old Nollywood”, but No! We believe that the essence of the River Niger Bridge in Onitsha is so that the East can go to the west and the west to the east. In 2018, the bridge was aptly used in the second largest film industry in the world, NOLLYWOOD as we saw the veterans of the industry appearing in films with the new and burgeoning actors and filmmakers. Jide Kosoko, Tina Mba, Onyeka Onwenu, Nkem Owoh, Patience Ozokwo, Sola Sobowale,  Pete Edochie, Steve Eboh, Sani Mu’azu, Chika Okpala, Genevieve Nnaji, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Richard Mofe Damijo, Uche Jombo and Ngozi Ezeonu all made appearances in different movies in 2018. A few of them made it to our top ten for 2018.

Here are our TOP TEN NOLLYWOOD ACTORS of 2018.


There’s a popular quote “no one is indispensable”, well there are actors that are irreplaceable – Nkem Owoh and the Late Sam Loco Efe. Nkem Owoh is one of the best in Africa, he knows his job so well that he robs off on his fellow actors on set each time. He is one of the few effortless comic actors in Nigeria’s Nollywood. In 2018, he appeared in CHIEF DADDY and provided some of the most hilarious scenes in the movie. He also play the very significant role of Papa Francis in GOD CALLING and also in LIONHEART where we think no one else could’ve played the role better.

Playing the lead role in Okey Oku’s Black Rose,” Echelon didn’t come through like a new comer. She acted like a pro thespian and delivered a calm but powerful interpretation of her character. Little wonder she won two awards at the Golden Movie Awards Africa in Ghana and also got nominated as Best Actress alongside Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards 2018.

Zainab was in three major movies in 2018 and we loved her in all, in the words of Charles Novia “From her mellow melancholy in Royal Hibiscus Hotel to her schizophrenic sizzle in ‘Sylvia‘ and her powerful portrayal of a soul in search of redemption in ‘God Calling‘, Zainab left no one in doubt about her stamp of authority in a field where she aspires to be respected. Congratulations!”

She would easily remind you of the growing years of Genevieve Nnaji or Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha; this beautiful young actress had her face on the screens of all the big festivals this year – playing in The Delivery Boy, Esohe, New Money and Lionheart. We are optimistic that Jemima is one of the actors that will make Nollywood proud in Hollywood.

When you see actors like Emeka, you are reassured of a beautiful future for Nollywood. We first took note of him in MTV Shuga, although according to his bio he has been in other flicks. In 2018, the KASALA brought us a breath of fresh air and Emeka was led the cast and as the lovable superstar wannabe, Emeka is a winner.

Although this list is in no particular order, we bring you what veteran filmmaker Charles Novia wrote about her “With a great performance in ‘King of Boys‘, Sola Sobowale would easily be many people’s pick for the top spot. In KOB, she redefines her stereotypical acting nous and shows us a different layer of her talent and ability to internalize her role…”

Genevieve Nnaji is the golden talent of Africa. With a Netflix original film, a Hollywood representation, special mentions on some of the biggest media platforms in the world and starring in the British movie “Farming”. Nigerian writer and Actor, Uzoamaka Aniunoh had this to say about her role in Lionheart; “It is difficult, if not impossible to watch the masterpiece called LionHeart and not notice the equally masterful act by Genevieve Nnaji.
There is a quiet force about her interpretation of the role; subtle and yet strong.
Nnaji commands presence without trying and will remind you of Julia Roberts in Notting Hill — silent yet pleasing to the eyes, ears and being.”

Jammal Ibrahim is a new name in Nollywood but his role in The Delivery Boy is one you cannot forget easily. In the words of Frank Ugobude, “…Jammal Ibrahim who is phenomenal throughout the movie. Amir takes one on a rollercoaster of emotions from rage to jealousy to confusion, all with his face that tells a lot.”

With a number of straight-to-DVD movie hits in 2018 he deserved a mention, but when he is invited to appear in LIONHEART, in the words of Wilfred Okiche “Pete Edochie gets his chance to be his charismatic, majestic self once again”. He is a pride to Nollywood and the African Cinema at large.”

Patience Ozokwor is definitely one of the best the industry has. Her body of work justifies her accolades but in 2018, she was outstanding as Adanna Onwuka in The Wedding Party 2 and as a housekeeper Madam Bert in Chief Daddy which was quite a deviation from her stereotypical character of a wicked mother-in-law. She also appeared in a number of straight-to-DVD movie hits in 2018.

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