Funke Akindele and Rita Dominic, two of the flying actress – who do you think is a better actress?
> Funke Akindele
There is no doubt that star actress, Funke Akindele Oloyede has come a long way since she started acting professionally in 1987. In recent times, she has racked up an impressive list of achievements, which has seen her profile rise meteorically. Today, her appeal goes well beyond the film industry, to wider society. Indeed she has become a veritable brand.
In September 2011, her eagerly anticipated movie, The Return of Jenifa, was released. The movie saw her reprising her role as the bumbling, irrepressible wannabe, Jenifa. The movie featured actors such as Ireti Osayemi Bakare, Eniola Badmus, Rukky Sanda, Mercy Aigbe, and Yinka Quadri. The movie also had star turns by celebrities such as Banky W, Wizkid, Naeto C, and Sasha.
Expectations were high as The Return of Jenifa was released at cinemas in Nigeria. If Funke Akindele Oloyede had been worried about the performance of the movie at the box office, she need not have been. The movie played to packed cinema halls, and went on to become the highest grossing Nigerian movie to date. Indeed the movie received the Highest Box Office award at the Zuma Film Festival, which was held in May.
The remarkable success of The Return of Jenifa, further solidified the status of Funke Akindele Oloyede as a veritable star. Without a doubt, she had become a star that no one could ignore. Following the success of The Return of Jenifa, awards and requests for public appearances began pouring in for the actress.
In May 2012, she won the Best Actress award at the Zuma Film Festival for her role in the Tunde Kelani film, MAAMi. In June 2012, she won the Best Actress in an Indigenous Movie award at the Nollywood Movies Awards. Also in June 2012, she won the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the Yoruba Movie Academy Awards. In July 2012, she won the Best Crossover Actress award at the Global Leadership Award for Excellence.
On the personal front, she got married to her heartthrob, Kehinde Almaroof Oloyede on May 26, at an elaborate ceremony which was graced by top Nollywood stars such as Desmond Elliot, Genevieve Nnaji, Ini Edo, and Chioma Akpotha.
There were fears in some quarters that she would not be able to handle the pressure that would come with her increased public profile. However, she has risen to the challenge, handling her public appearances with increasing grace and commendable style. She was one of the Olympic torchbearers at the Olympic Torch Relay, which took place in Coventry on July 1, and she will be co-hosting the Nigeria Entertainment Awards in New York, on September 2.
Just like her character, Jenifa, Funke Akindele Oloyede is flying on the fast track..jpg
> Rita Dominic
The last 12 months have been very good for Rita Dominic. In those 12 months, she has booked her place solidly as one of the best Nigerian actresses – of all time. During this time, she has been part of several top quality productions, and she has played a diverse array of characters, which has deepened her oeuvre considerably. Her career moves have been faultless, and her choice of roles have been inspired.
In July 2011, Rita Dominic left Nigeria for Kenya to star in the film, Shattered. In Shattered, she played Keziah Njema – a woman whose traumatic childhood becomes a precursor to a life of turmoil, depression, and self destruction. At the time, a few eyebrows were raised about her decision to star in the Kenyan production, but time would show that this was one of the best decisions of her life.
After completing Shattered in August 2011, Rita Dominic returned to Nigeria, and in October 2011, she starred in The Meeting – a romantic drama, which she produced with her manager and business partner, Mildred Okwo. In The Meeting, she plays Clara Ikemba – a cantankerous super secretary working in a government office in Abuja.
Rita Dominic started 2012 by starring in Streets of Calabar – a comedy thriller written and produced by former CNN and BBC reporter, Charles Aniagolu. She starred in the movie alongside acts like Anthony Ofoegbu, Wale Ojo, Keppy Ekpenyong Bassey, and Maynard Eziashi.
After completing Streets of Calabar she went on the set Lions of '76 – a film centred around the events of the military coup, which took place in Nigeria in 1976. The film, which is one of the most important films of 2012, is being directed by the award winning director, Izu Ojukwu, and it is being shot on celluloid.
In May 2012, Rita Dominic took a break from the set of Lions of '76 to attend the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Lagos. She had been nominated for the prestigious AMAA award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She was up against some of the best actresses in Africa, some of which were – Uche Jombo, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Ama K Abebrese, and Millicent Makheido. In a stunning victory, she clinched the award for her role in Shattered – the movie which she did in Kenya in 2011. This victory sealed her position as one of the best Nigerian actresses of all time.
However, there was little time to celebrate her victory at AMAA, as she soon returned to the set of Lions of '76 in Ibadan. Without a doubt, Lions of '76 has been one of the most rigorous and demanding movies of Rita Dominic's career. She has been on set for 5 months now, alongside Ramsey Nouah, and Chidi Mokeme, under the watchful Izu Ojukwu – one of the most exacting directors in Nigeria. Lions of '76 is nearing a wrap, and Rita should soon be able to get a well deserved rest.
All in all, the past 12 months have been some of the best of Rita Dominic's career – if not the best. The choice of films, which she has featured in have been very good for her career. The AMAA award was the icing on the cake, and at this point, any history of the Nigerian film industry would be incomplete without a mention of Rita Uchenna Nkem Dominic.
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