You already know our thoughts on some of the issues we have with this year’s AMVCA nominations. One thing we didn’t mention though, was the conspicuous absence of EbonyLife’s Fifty which was undoubtedly one of last year’s biggest movies. As we said before, awards will always be contentious. And, even though, an awards show which has A Trip To Jamaica in so many prominent categories can’t exactly claim to be too stringent about quality, we’re willing to accept the Fifty snub. It happens.
However, we also found ourselves thinking about The Wedding Party. We’d honestly assumed this movie wouldn’t be eligible till next year, seeing as it just got an official release this month, months after the September 30 deadline specified on the amvca website.
But, there’s the matter of 76, which only got an official Nigerian release in November, but is one of the most nominated films this year.
But then, a closer look at the guidelines reveals something else.
The films simply need to have been screened during that period. They don’t necessarily need to have been screened in Nigeria. Which means 76’s festival screenings (at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, for example) fulfill the qualification criteria.
Which means that The Wedding Party isn’t, like we’d assumed, ineligible. Which makes two tentpoles movies from the EbonyLife stables that are going unacknowledged by the AMVCAs. The AMVCAs love their blockbusters, and here we have two, popular with both critics and audiences, being conspicuously snubbed.
So we have to wonder, what is going on?
If The Wedding Party was left out because of its release date, while 76 went on to be nominated, it means the eligibility rules are another thing the AMVCAs need to rethink.
Unless both Fifty and The Wedding Party weren’t submitted for consideration at all, which would be strange, but not unheard of (this being the year that, moving away from these shores for a bit, Frank Ocean refused to submit his album to The Grammys for consideration.)
But beyond these two films, we also have to think about Green White Green, which was (as we now know) also eligible and is nowhere to be found on the nominations list.
Given that this film received far and away the most positive buzz from TIFF, and won both the Best Nigerian Film Award and a Special Jury Award (for its lead, Ifeanyi Dike Jr.) at AFRIFF, this is, by far, the most egregious snub. And while it’s also not impossible that Green White Green wasn’t submitted at all, we think it unlikely that this is the case, given its entry into AFRIFF.
So yeah, one way or the other, this is all very strange. But we shall all continue to observe.