Happy New Year guys and welcome to a warm and fulfilling 2014.
2013 witnessed loads of changes and differences in the Nigerian movie industry, for one, Xplorenollywood came into your lives (yay!!!), Nollywood celebrated 20 years, new directors and directions for the industry came into play, actors and actresses decided to take risks which paid off for some and the industry witness the surge of iROKOtv, MTN dobox and all those other sites that enables viewers in the Diaspora watch our movies and home grown talent.
So, as we usher in 2014, Xplore would like to present to you, 14 hottest upcoming actors and actresses to look out for in the year:
Born and raised in Warri, Delta state, Bobby had his first acting experience in 2011 from the Royal Arts Production ‘Weekend Getaway (basically, he was handed the role). Although it wasn’t the first movie Xplore had reviewed of his that made him top this list, he was cast in ‘Misplaced’ and seemed pretty down-to-earth and at peace with his character. With the ever demanding times and roles, Bobby needs classes in acting and etiquette. Being an activist, doesn’t necessarily say I can act, so he does need to horn those skills. Using a set of cutleries seems daunting, from the roles we have reviewed, and if he is to play an affluent role, it doesn’t make any sense that he can’t eat properly with cutleries. Hopefully, for the year 2014, Bobby will be able to give us more than a ton bod, an accent and tattoos.
The Bayelsan born graduate of Enugu State University of Science and Technology and former Manager to music crooner Timaya, came into the Nigerian movie scene in 2006. After attending an audition four times, he was giving the lead role character for J.U.D.E a movie shot in India, but hey, that hasn’t been seen or reviewed. Daniel’s makes the cut because of his roles in Rukky Sander’s ‘Love Lorn’ and ‘In Her Shoes’ (movies that have been reviewed) roles he handled okay. Daniel shows great potential asides been a pretty boy and having 35 movies to his credit, but Xplore and the public in general in 2014 are looking forward to seeing him in more challenging roles that bring out his inner talent.
IK Ogbonna (actually spelt Ikay, LOL!!!) caught Xplore’s attention as a music presenter on MITV, at that time, he needed to horn his skills in presenting to become better. Fast forward a couple of years, a stint with Amstel Malta Box Office in 2005, a modeling gig with Glo Networks and other brands, a course in New York Film School and viola, he is allegedly one of the fastest raising Nollywood actors at the moment. He caught our attention yet again in ‘Love Lorn’ a Rukky Sanders Production as well as ‘A Wish’ and we must say it wasn’t too shabby. Ikay shows great promise knowing fully well that only looks don’t work in the industry. He needs to put his back into the game, work on delivering to his roles and also, hire a voice coach to help with his stammering(Samuel L Jackson and Tom Cruise did it, I bet you can).
The all-round entertainer born in the eighties started his entertainment journey in 2000 as a model. He was a musical artist with the defunct boy band G-Xploits and ventured into acting in 2006, when he entered for the Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO2) show and made it to top ten. He honed his innate acting skills under the tutelage of Nigeria’s finest veteran, Sam Dede and hasn’t looked back ever since. Okey caught Xplore’s attention in ‘Lekki Wives’ where he played Lovette’s boyfriend and it was an impressive performance. He’s been in other productions and we dear say, he’s going places if he keeps this up.
This 35 year old British born Nigerian made her debut into the Nigerian film industry in 2006 in Obi Emeonye’s ‘Ebony’ starring alongside Judi Shekoni and Jim Iyke. However, her acting career began with a London based acting group called ‘The association of multinational performing Artists,’ where she featured in a number of stage plays and in house productions. Although she has 10 films or more to her credit, we didn’t notice Uru until we watch movies like ‘Last Flight to Abuja’ and reviewed ‘Weekend Getaway.’ On this list, however, she’s the only one with foreign acting skills/training, has been featured on CNN’s ‘Inside Africa,’ has her own website and a production company (only her bah?) Just shows, she’s in the industry for the long hull. Xplore feels, Uru is basically untapped and even though she hasn’t said, it, she hasn’t had that script that is worth her salt and would challenge her. Here’s hoping that 2014 will be a promising year for her as she lights up our screens.
Yvonne Nelson, the 28 year old Ghanaian actress, model, film producer and entrepreneur who was more in lyrics of songs than actual films, (we kid) drew our attention with her production of movie ‘The Single and Married.’ That movie marked the beginning of XplorenolIywood and we do appreciate her. She’s stared in other movies, both Ghanaian and Nigerian after that but there’s something lacking in her delivery to her roles and we doubt if she’s challenging herself much. While she believes she’s great in her own right (everyone thinks that dear), we believe, that Yvonne has talent that if harnessed properly, she will deliver (more training), no holds barred. She’s the second person on my list with a production company as well so she isn’t taking prisoners.
Keira caught our attention as Peace the born again, bible quoting wife who didn’t pay attention to her husband’s sexual needs, in ‘Lekki Wives.’ It was an enjoyable performance and we longed to see her in other productions. That wish came through when we watched and reviewed her performance in Uche Jumbo’s production of ‘Lies Men Tell’ and then it became clearer, she needed some help. She has been likened to Mercy Johnson in recent times, but we doubt if they play in the same space. We would like to see Keira in different roles asides being noisy and challenge herself to do better in 2014.
Fine boy, Dike… Came into limelight through his association with Uti Nwachukwu, after his BBA win. As we prepare this list, getting information about Alex on the web is hard. Anyhoo, he caught our attention when we watched and reviewed ‘Love Lorn’. He was husband to Tonto Dike and their chemistry was wowed!!! It wasn’t an Oscar performance, but we watched him with keen interested and picked up a copy of ‘In the Cupboard’ a movie I wasn’t so enthusiastic about. He brought comic relief to Royal Arts Production of ‘Weekend Getaway,’ as Dike and it seems like he has found a home in Nigerian film industry, but we must add this, 2014, Mr. Okubo must be a year of doing things differently. Set up a website/blog, having some media/publicity activities and get your information out there dude and by all means, think outside the box.
The Medical Doctor turned actress was born in Lagos. She started acting in primary and secondary school and went on to study medicine at the University of Lagos. She began her professional acting career in 2011 in the television series ‘Behind the Smile’ but caught our attention in ‘Lekki Wives’ playing the role of Lovette. She was ruthless, bitchy and funny at the same time, and her character was totally enjoyable. I also watched ‘Married but Living Single’ a movie that came out before Lekki Wives and it became clearer where her character as Lovette came from. Kiki shows great promise and we like how she’s been selective with her roles and appearances. We hope to see her some more this year in much more challenging roles.
Former Mr. Nigeria and 3rd Runner up Mr. World, Kenneth Okolie grab Xplore’s attention when he played a lover boy in Uche Jumbo’s production ‘Mrs. Somebody,’ a movie that was a cliché for me but Kenneth and Belinda made a cute couple. He resurfaced again in ‘Desperate Housegirls’ and ‘Lonely Hearts’. So let us interject, Kenneth has shown himself as the new Nollywood lover man, ranking tops with the likes of Jim and Ramsey… But like we mentioned at the beginning of this list, we need characters that are dynamic in the Nollywood mix, so for 2014, we wish to see you in roles other than that of lover man!!!
Belinda, has a facial expressions that make us sigh!!! Born in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, Belinda joined the industry between 2005 and 2006. After participating in the television reality show ‘Next Movie Star’ she thought she had arrived but, she had another thing coming. Her story changed when she teamed up with award winning producer Emem Isong and her Writer sister Uduak Ogumanam. She featured in their movies and got nominated and won for her role in ‘Kokomma.’ We watched and reviewed Belinda in ‘Lonely Hearts’ and we have seen her in little roles in other movies and all we can say is Xplore needs to watch and review ‘Kokomma’ to appreciate her acting skills. She however has the whole of 2014 to put her best foot forward and truly dance with the stars.
Born August 2, 1982, Uti won season 5 of the BBA reality show. Now Uti has tried it all, he was in the ‘The Next Movie Star’, ‘Gulder Ultimate Search’ he’s a model and finally he put in for BBA reality show. Xplore believes Uti is multi-talented, his ability to pull off various accents is a gift and we enjoy him on ‘Jara’. His acting though!!! Uti can’t go through a role without screaming and that isn’t a talent. Although he’s attained an award or two for his acting, he still needs to better himself and shoot for the stars in 2014. Challenging himself with roles that are actually tasking and daring.
Tamara Eteimo the University of Port Harcourt graduate of theatre arts won ‘The Next Movie’ star reality show and there has been no turning back. With her aspirations set on acting alongside Denzel, Xplore caught her on ‘Desperate Housegirls’ and there was something about her acting drew us to her. Asides a good command of English, she carried herself in an appreciative manner and delivered to her role beautifully. Here’s hoping 2014 will be totally awesome for her as we look forward to more roles with her in them.
1. OC Okeje
Wow! We are at number 1… Born, July 15, 1981, O.C has been a force to reckon with in Nollywood dishing out one outstanding performance after another. He began his career in acting from the University of Lagos, participated in the Amstel Malta Box Office, won and the world is his oyster. Unlike most of his predecessors who won the reality show, OC has been the most successful and most talked about. OC caught our attention in ‘Two Brides and a Baby’ but hey! I fell asleep before the movie ended but his reviews and awards don’t lie and well, he’s likable. So big-ups to you OC, as we plan to watch and review more of your movies in 2014.
So there you have it, if you favorite upcoming act isn’t here, please feel free to drop your names in the comments section.
Note: The list is based on the following parameters, which include movies Xplore have reviewed; acting style, number of movies stared in as well as opportunities to horn ones acting skills.