The actor, who died on February 19 this year, beat other renowned actors to win one of Africa’s topmost prizes in film at the 9th edition of the AMAAs which came off at the Glory Hall Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
The night which saw some of Africa’s biggest names – Zack Orji, Kofi Adjorlolo, Osita Iheme (Pawpaw) – in movies in attendance witnessed the presentation of awards to several actors, actresses and movie practitioners who have distinguished themselves over the past year.
When Justus was declared winner of Best Actor in a Leading Rolecategory which also had Oc Ukeje, Bimbo Manuel, Lindani Nkosi, Hlomla Dandala, Femi Jacobs and Amurin Wumnembom as competitors, the venue was thrown into a solemn mood.
Ibinabo Fibersima, President of the Nigerian Actors Guild, who had mounted the stage to present that award, had to receive the award on behalf of Justus, who won the award for his role in the movie, Assasins Practice.
The Best Actress in a Leading Role award went to South Africa’s Florence Masebe for her role in the Elelwani. She beat Ghana’s Yvonne Okoro, Mariam Ouedraogo, Rita Dominic, Mbutung Seikeh and Flora Suya.
Ghana’s Shirley Frimpong-Manso lost out on the Best Director award to Niji Akanni of Heroes and Zeroes while the night’s biggest prize – Best Film – went to Nigerian film, Confusion Na Wa.
Disappointing night for Ghana
Ghana’s nominations in this year’s awards were not impressive. The country walked into the awards with only seven nominations.
It had the seven nominations from a total of 671 films which were submitted for consideration for this year’s awards. In all, 184 short films, 108 Diaspora features, documentaries and shorts films, 60 documentaries from Africa and 319 feature films from within and outside Africa, including films made by Africans living abroad were submitted.
Yvonne Okoro’s Contract received six of the nominations – Best Actress, Best Director, Best Actor In a Leading Role, Achievement In Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Production Design.
Young Ghanaian film maker, Akosua Adoma Owusu’s short film, Kwaku Ananse gave Ghana its seventh nomination. She received a nomination in the Best Short Film category.
Interestingly, Yvonne Okoro walked out of the venue without a single award while Akosua gave Ghana its only award on the night. She won the Best Short Film award.
More frustrations for Ghana
Some Ghanaian movie personalities who attended the awards seems to have regretted attending the event this year.
Kofi Adjorlolo, Prince David Osei and Eddie Nartey expressed their anger at organizers for failing to accord them the needed respect and recognition at the awards.
Kofi Adjorlolo and Prince David explained to Myjoyonline.com that they were highly disappointed at the fact that they had to struggle to get to the event only to arrive at the venue without designated seats. According to them, they struggled to get seats.
Sources close to Yvonne Okoro also said the Ghanaian nominee also had to organize her own seats at the venue as organizers failed to apportion seats for herself and her entourage.
The awards night provided some of the best entertainment the African continent had to offer. There was an exciting blend of traditional and modern musical performances mixed with some rib cracking comedy.
There were performances from several acts including the Bayelsa State Cultural Troop, Groove Magic (Malawi), Waje (Nigeria), Timi Dakolo, Flavour N’abania, and comedian Funny Bone.
There were also comedy skits from AY, who was among four MCs for the night. The rest were Ama K. Abebrese, Adjetey Anang, and Dakore Egbuson Akande.