Genevieve Nnaji: Biography, Age, Career, Family And Movies

Genevieve Nnaji: Biography, Age, Career, Family And Movies

Genevieve Nnaji

Genevieve Nnaji (/ˈnɑːi/; born 3 May 1979) is a Nigerian actor, producer, and director. She won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2005, making her the first actor to win the award. In 2011, she was honoured as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian government for her contribution to Nollywood. Her directorial debut movie, Lionheart, is the first Netflix Original from Nigeria, and first Nigerian submission for the Oscars. The movie was disqualified for having most of the dialogue in English.

Early life and education

Nnaji was born in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria, and grew up in Lagos. The fourth of eight children, she was raised in a middle-class family; her father worked as an engineer and her mother as a nursery school teacher. She attended Methodist Girls College (Yaba, Lagos), before transferring to the University of Lagos, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in creative arts. While at the university, she began auditioning for acting jobs in Nollywood.

Career

Nnaji started her acting career as a child actor in the then-popular television soap opera Ripples at the age of 8. In 1998, at the age of 19, she was introduced into the growing Nigerian film industry with the movie Most Wanted. Her subsequent movies include Last PartyMark of the Beast, and Ijele. In 2010, she starred in the award-winning film Ijé: The Journey. She has starred in over 200 Nollywood movies.[citation needed]

In 2004, Nnaji signed a recording contract with EKB Records, a Ghanaian record label, and released her debut album One Logologo Line. It is a mix of R&B, Hip-Hop, and Urban music. In 2004, Genevieve Nnaji was with the most votes after contending with other celebrities for the search for the face of Lux in 2004.

In 2005, she won the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Actress in a Leading Role, becoming the first actor to win the award.

As of 2009, Nnaji was one of the best-paid female actors in Nollywood. Due to her contributions to the Nigerian movie industry, she became the first actor to be awarded Best Actress at the 2001 City Peoples Awards, the award ceremony that previously had only recognized politicians and business conglomerates. She was also the first actor to be awarded as Best Actress by the Censors Board of Nigeria in 2003. In 2009, she was referred to as the Julia Roberts of Africa by Oprah Winfrey.

In November 2015, Nnaji produced her first movie called Road to Yesterday, later winning Best Movie Overall-West Africa at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.

In January 2018, it was reported that Genevieve would be replacing Funke Akindele as a member of the Dora Milaje in Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War. This was later debunked as an internet prank and the actor did not appear in the movie.

On September 7, 2018, her directorial debut Lionheart was acquired by online streaming service Netflix, making it the first Netflix original film from Nigeria. The movie had its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, alongside Farming, the Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s autobiographical directorial debut where she starred in alongside Kate Beckinsale, Damson Idris, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

Genevieve Nnaji is Nollywood’s first billionaire since Netflix purchased her movie Lionheart for ₦1,385,100,000 ($3.8 million).

Genevieve Nnaji is a very strong girls and women activist. She advocates for Nigerian girls to be able to have a say in who they choose to marry. She is against early marriages for the girl child. She is strongly against the abuse of women in society. Genevieve says she is a strong advocate for social justice. Further, Genevieve Nnaji is a strong feminist. She states her type of feminism is the woman who has the right to make her own choices and do whatever she feels like.

Modelling

Nnaji has featured in several commercials, include for Pronto (beverage) and Omo detergent. In 2004, she became the “Face of Lux” in Nigeria in a highly lucrative sponsorship deal. In 2008, Nnaji launched the clothing line “St. Genevieve”, which donates its proceeds to charity. In May 2010, she was appointed to be the official “Face of MUD” in Nigeria.

See also  Francis Agu: Biography, Age, Career, Family And Movies

Awards and nominations

Nnaji has received several awards and nominations for her work, including the Best Actress of the Year Award at the 2001 City People Awards and the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award at the 2005 Africa Movie Academy Awards.

In 2019, her movie, LionHeart, was selected by the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC), as Nigeria’s submission to the Best International Feature Film Category of the 2020 Oscars. It was the first film ever submitted to the Oscars by Nigeria.

Subsequently, the oscar submission was cancelled for not meeting the language criteria. The film’s dialogue track is predominantly in the English language. However, the Oscar rules since 2006 dictate that eligible movies must have a “Predominantly non-English Dialogue Track.” This move was an attempt to open up more opportunities for films from diverse cultures.

In a viral Tweet on 4th of November 2019, the Award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay had questioned the Academy’s decision on nixing Lionheart Oscar race for using its official language–English. Genevieve, in response to Ava DuVernay’s viral Tweet, took to Twitter to explain further that the country Nigeria as presently constituted, does boast of over 500 languages, making it so ethnically diverse than English, as the official language, can only be the language utilized to make the movie widely acceptable to the eclectic audience across the country, and even beyond the continent of Africa.

In an article published by Culture writer and multiculturalism scholar- Kovie Biakolo titled “Nigeria’s Lion Heart Disqualification is Bigger than the Oscars” on the CNN opinion website; Kovie opined that “one cannot help but feel that Nigeria is ultimately being penalized for being a former British colony in using the very language that was imposed on its people, to communicate between them, and especially for art. Former French, Spanish and Portuguese colonies certainly don’t have this problem. And in truth, the Academy may be demonstrating a short-sighted or surface-level understanding of its purported inclusivity in this category”.

She went further to criticise the Oscar board for allowing the nominations of British movies that were not done English, which invariably is the Country’s main language but did so in the case of Nigeria whose cultural diversity could be confounding yet true.

92nd Academy Awards (Oscars)

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2020 Genevieve Nnaji / LionHeart Best International Feature Film Disqualified

The 19th Black Reel Awards (FAAAF)]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2019 Lionheart Outstanding Foreign Film / World Cinema Motion Picture[40] Won

Toronto International Film Festival

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2018 Lionheart Grolsch People’s Choice Award Nominated

Africa Movie Academy Awards

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2005 Best Actress in Leading Role Won
2008 30 Days/Keep My Will Nominated
2011 Tango with Me Nominated

Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2013 The Mirror Boy Best Actress Drama/TV Series Nominated
2016 Road to Yesterday Nominated
Best Movie West Africa Won

Nigeria Entertainment Awards

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2009 Best Actress Nominated
2010 Silent Scandals Best Actress Film/Short Story Nominated
Guinness Ultimate Survivor Best Actress TV Series Won
2011 Tango with Me Best Actress Film/Short Story Nominated
2013 Doctor Bello Best Actress in Leading Role Nominated
2014 Half of a Yellow Sun Best Actress in Supporting Role Won
2016 Road to Yesterday Lead Actress in Film Nominated
Best Picture Nominated

Nollywood Movies Awards

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2012 Tango with Me Best Actress Leading Role Nominated
Herself Viewers Choice- Female Won

Ghana Movie Awards

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2010 Silent Scandals Best Actress-Africa Collaboration Won

Golden Icons Academy Movie Awards

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2012 Herself Best Actress- Viewers Choice Nominated
See also  Adam A Zango: Biography, Age, Career, Family And Movies

Nollywood and African Film Critics Awards (NAFCA)

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2013 Weekend Getaway Best Actress Leading Role Won

Zulu African Film Academy Awards

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2011 The Mirror Boy Best Actress Won

City People Entertainment Awards

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2001 Herself Best Actress Won

Best of Nollywood Awards

 
Year Nominee/work Award Result
2010 Silent Scandals Best Actress-Leading Role Nominated
2011 The Mirror Boy Nominated
Bursting Out Best Kiss with Majid Michel Won

Filmography

Year Film Role Notes
1987 Ripples
1998 Most Wanted
1999 Camouflage with Ramsey Nouah
2001 Love Boat with Ramsey Nouah
Death Warrant
2002 Valentino with Ramsey Nouah
Fire Dancer Nene
Sharon Stone Sharon Stone
Runs! Adesua with Georgina Onuoha
Power of Love Juliet with Ramsey Nouah, Grace Amah
Formidable Force with Georgina Onuoha & Hanks Anuku
Battle Line with Ramsey Nouah & Pete Edochie
2003 Above Death: In God We Trust with Pete Edochie, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Ramsey Nouah, & Zack Orji
Blood Sister with Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde & Tony Umez
Break Up with Ramsey Nouah
Butterfly with Ramsey Nouah
By His Grace with Tony Umez
Church Business with Ramsey Nouah & Segun Arinze
Deadly Mistake
Emergency Wedding with Tony Umez
Emotional Tears Helen
For Better for Worse
Honey with Ramsey Nouah & Pete Edochie
Jealous Lovers Chioma
Keeping Faith: Is That Love? with Richard Mofe-Damijo
Last Weekend with Ramsey Nouah
Late Marriage
Love Anita with Richard Mofe-Damijo & Segun Arinze
My Only Love Angela with Ramsey Nouah
Not Man Enough
Passion & Pain with Ramsey Nouah & Desmond Elliot
Passions with Stella Damasus-Aboderin & Richard Mofe-Damijo
Player: Mr Lover Man
Private Sin Faith with Stephanie Okereke, Richard Mofe-Damijo, & Patience Ozokwor
Sharon Stone in Abuja Sharon Stone
Super Love with Ramsey Nouah & Pete Edochie
The Chosen One
Women Affair
2004 Bumper to Bumper with Georgina Onuoha
Critical Decision with Richard Mofe-Damijo, Stephanie Okereke, & Mike Ezuruonye
Dangerous Sister with Tony Umez & Dakore Egbuson
Goodbye New York with Rita Dominic
He Lives in Me
Into Temptation with Ramsey Nouah
My First Love with Tony Umez
Never Die for Love
Promise Me Forever with Stephanie Okereke
Stand by Me
Treasure
Unbreakable with Ramsey Nouah
We Are One with Stella Damasus-Aboderin
2005 Darkest Night with Richard Mofe-Damijo & Segun Arinze
Games Women Play with Stella Damasus-Aboderin, Desmond Elliot, & Zack Orji
Rip-Off with Ramsey Nouah
2006 Girls Cot with Rita Dominic & Ini Edo
30 Days Chinora Onu with Segun Arinze – this film received 10 nominations at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2008,
including Best PictureBest Art DirectionBest ScreenplayBest EditBest Costumes, and Best Sound
2007 Letters to a Stranger Jemima Lawal with Yemi Blaq, Joke Silva, and Segun Arinze
Keep My Will
Warrior’s Heart
Unfinished Business Nkem
Winds of Glory Juliana
2008 Beautiful Soul Olivia this film received 3 African Movie Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay,
Best Soundtrack, and Heart of Africa
Broken Tears with Van Vicker, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal and Grace Amah
Critical Condition Ify
River of Tears Yvonne with Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Van Vicker, and Grace Amah
My Idol
Love My Way Kayla
2009 Silent Scandals Jessie with Majid Michel & Uche Jombo
Felicima Felicima with Alex Lopez
2010 Ijé: The Journey Chioma Opara with Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Odalys García, & Clem Ohameze
Tango with me Lola with Joke Silva
Bursting Out Zara Williams with Majid Michel, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Omoni Oboli, & Desmond Elliot
Mirror Boy Teema with Osita Iheme
2011 Sacred Lies Isabella with Olu Jacobs, Desmond Elliot, & Nadia Buari
2012 Weekend Getaway with Ramsey Noah, Ini Edo, Michael Okpara
2013 Half of a Yellow Sun Ms Adebayo with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, Onyeka Onwenu, and OC Ukeje
Doctor Bello with Isaiah Washington, Vivica A. Fox, Justus Esiri, and Stephanie Okereke
2014 The Truth with Olisa Guest TV Series
2015 Road to Yesterday Victoria with Oris Erhuero and Majid Michel
2018 LionheartFarming AdaezeTolu Also the Director and WriterSupporting Actress

Discography

  • One Logologo Line (2004)