Funke Akindele and Mercy Johnson are locked in a battle for supremacy in the Nigerian movie industry, with one in the Yoruba genre and the other in the English genre. In the days of the defunct G5, the then top reigning five actresses –Genevieve Nnaji, Rita Dominic, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Stella Damasus and Stephanie Okereke, these two could easily have broken into that rank, giving the leading actresses a run for their money.
That Kogi State born Mercy Johnson is the hottest (new) actress in the industry is not a doubt. Testimony of this is her clinching of the City People’s Award for the Hottest New Face of Nollywood, at the 12th City People Award which held recently, and also, her winning the Best Performance Actress in a supporting role in the film Live to Remember, at the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) 2009 which held last weekend in Bayelsa State.
With just a few years of hitting the movie circuit, she has grown to become one of the industry’s most sought-after actresses. Could it just be luck, or a sexy body coupled with good interpretations of role? all, one might say. It is clear that the budding young lady has worked hard at her task of acting. Her interpretation of roles is her strongest point in her arsenal. It is no wonder that the long hours of trekking from home to the National Theatre to be part of an audition or the other has finally paid off, especially with the awards rolling in. Her grass to grace story is a reference point for many young hopefuls, despite the few controversies that stir up once in a while, the minus of stardom.
Her role in Risikat was also memorable. Her efforts at producing, with blockbuster movies such as Ekuro, Taiwo-Taiwo, Ojo Ketala, Apadi, and very recently, Jenifa, the award winning movie, have put her in a class of her own.
Armed with an Ordinary National Diploma in Communication, from the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ogun State, and a Law degree from the University of Lagos, the delectable and brilliant thirty-three year old Ikorodu, Lagos State-born actress has begun her history making journey in the movie world.
Last weekend at the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) 2009, Funke Akindele was named by the jury as Africa’s best actress in a leading role. She emerged top ahead of six others including a Ghanaian and a Kenyan. Although, the actress, who interpreted excellently the role of Jenifa, the lead character in the movie with the same name, was not present at the award ceremony at Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, a thunderous applause concurred with the jury’s declaration of her as the continent’s best actress for this year. Mercy Johnson, on her own part, beat fellow compatriots Mosunmola Filani in Jenifa, Chika Ike in Assassin and Aggie Kebirungi and Daphney Hlomoku to clinch the Best Supporting Actress role at the same award.
It remains to be seen where this battle for supremacy between these two extremely gifted and talented ladies gets to, as we wait with baited breaths for more accolades.