Meet the Top 10 Nollywood Actors of 2022

From Meg Otangwa’s brilliant portrayal of a mother suffering from postpartum depression to Genoveva Umeh’s breakout moment, here are the actors who owned this year.

With the COVID-19 pandemic mostly behind us, 2022 has been a great year for both film and television. From cinemas to streaming, there was no shortage of fantastic entertainment and memorable performances.

On the heels of our ranking of this year’s best film we have compiled a list of our top actors (both male and female). In addition to the obvious contenders, we noticed some incredible performances from a couple of up-and-comers who had us spellbound with their undeniable talent.

And the award for the top 10 Nollywood actors of 2022 goes to:

1.Meg Otanwa in ‘For Maria’

From C.J Obasi’s 2014 ‘Ojuju’ to ‘Knockout Blessing’, Otanwa has consistently stood out for her ability to turn any onscreen time she has into powerful moments, and ‘For Maria’ (Ẹ̀bùn Pàtàkì) is no different.

In Damilola Orimogunje’s movie which premiered in 2020 but was released on Netflix to a larger audience this year, she delivers a standout performance, embodying all the melancholy and emotions of a new mother suffering from postpartum depression.

Meg Otanwa in ‘For Maria Ebun Pataki’ [Black History Month]

Leading the movie alongside Gabriel Afoloyan, Otanwa puts her body on the line gaining weight in order to pass as a pregnant woman. By the end, the audience leaves with a better understanding of this important, yet often overlooked issue and a new appreciation for the talent that is Meg Otanwa. We look forward to the magic she will deliver next year.

2.Genoveva Umeh

Anyone who saw Blood Sister finished the series with one question on their minds—”Who is Timeyin?”—thanks to Umeh’s outstanding performance.

Holding her own against established acts like Kate Henshaw, she demonstrates her acting chops as a troubled addict; a role that could have easily been forgettable if played by someone with lesser skills.

Genoveva Umeh in ‘Blood Sisters’ [Netflix]

Stealing the spotlight every chance she gets Umeh reaffirms our faith in Nollywood future with her entrancing performance. We wait eagerly to see the stratospheric heights she will reach soon.

3.Deyemi Okanlawan in ‘Blood Sisters’

This trained actor made a memorable appearance earlier this year with his performance in Netflix’s Blood Sister.

Okanlawan, who was killed off in the first episode, milked every opportunity he had to play the outwardly charming, yet secretly abusive Kola, a role that was so traumatising that he was forced to seek therapy.

Blood Sisters series [Netflix]

4.Bimbo Ademoye in ‘Anikulapo’

Even though Ademoye has been around for a while, she first caught our attention as the third sugar sister in ‘Sugar Rush.’ In 2021, she did the same in ‘Ayinla’ and again this year as the beautiful Arolake in Kunle Afolayan’s ‘Anikulapo.’

Ademoye makes you feel her pain as the barren queen, you root for her happiness when she falls for Saro; and you finally side with her when she exacts her revenge.

Bimbo Ademoye

Away from the big projects, she creates her own opportunities with her popular online skits and we love it for her. With Sugar Rush 2 and Amazon Prime’s ‘Gangs of Lagos’ on the way, we can not wait to see her continue to steal the show and solidify her spot in Nollywood.

5.Kunle Remi in ‘Anikulapo’

Since making his debut in 2015 with ‘Still Falling,’ Remi has been working his way to a leading role which happened this year with ‘Anikulapo.’

Playing the broke-turned-arrogant Saro, he brings the range required to interpret the role. Hate or love his choices, Remi delivers an unforgettable performance, holding his own against the formidable Sola Sobowale and proving that he has what it takes to carry a movie.

Kunle Remi as Saro in Anikulapo [youTube]

He follows up his breakout role with another leading role in Toyin Abraham’s new movie, Ijakumo.

6.Tina Mba in ‘For Maria’

Put Mba in anything from a play to film and she delivers a performance worth rooting for. She breaths life into her lines, making you believe that she is whatever character she is portraying in that moment.

As the mother-in-law and grandmother, who does not understand or believe in postpartum depression, Mba does her job a little too well in ‘For Maria.’

Tina Mba

African mothers who also don’t believe in this mood disorder have an ally in her character, while the rest of us want to knock some sense into her character, figuratively speaking, of course. Whatever side of the fence you fall on, no one can deny her compelling performance.

7.Sola Sobowale in ‘Anikulapo’

The legendary King of Boys, Sobowale makes our list for the second year in a row with her role in ‘Anikulapo.’

As Awarun, she is the perfect sugar mummy; caring when she needs to be yet focused on securing her business and sexual pleasure no matter who it comes from.

Sola Sobowale in ‘Anikulapo’ [Nollywire]

With baited breath, we look forward to what Sobowale brings to the screen next in Netflix original crime thriller, Shanty Town.

8.Gabriel Afolayan in ‘Blood Sisters’

Every year, Afolayan chooses a variety of roles that put his undeniable talent on display, and 2022 is no different as he goes from playing the confused yet supportive husband in ‘For Maria’ to making his directorial debut in ‘U-turn.’

He makes the list for his role as the conniving, spineless, and overlooked brother on Blood Sister a portrayal so good that you honestly want to shake some sense and soul into him.

9.Odunlade Adekola in ‘Elesin Oba’

This year, Adekola proved once again that he is more than just a meme king with leading roles like Oba Adegbite Tadenikaro in the Yoruba revenge epic, ‘King of Thieves,’ and again in ‘Elesin Oba.’

However, he earns his spot on our list with his riveting performance as the film’s conflicted titular character, despite the unnerving beard.

Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman feature film [Instagram/moabudu]

10.Tobi Bakre in ‘Brotherhood’

Bakre has come a long way since he walked on the Big Brother Naija stage in 2018 and he proves just how far in Jade Osiberu’s blockbuster ‘Brotherhood.’

Making the physical changes required including shaving his head, piercing his ears and getting incredibly fit, he delivers a believable, enjoyable performance as Akin, nicknamed Kalashnikov.

Shots from the movie Brotherhood.
We can not wait to see what he does next as the lead in Amazon Prime Video’s first Nigerian Original, Gang of Lagos coming out next year
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