Once Upon a Time in Gollywood, Kimberly Elise was a Ghana Movie Awards best actress winner, 2011 to be specific.
Hosted by media personalities Nana Aba Anamoah and Nathaniel Attoh, the second edition of the GMAs was one of the well-attended nights in the history of the awards ceremony.
Elise was nominated in the best actress (English) category alongside Jackie Appiah (Reason to Kill), Yvonne Okoro (Why Marry), Joselyn Dumas (Adams Apples), Lydia Forson (Masquerades) and her fellow cast mate Omotola Jalade Ekeinde.
Written and Directed by Leila Djansi, ‘Ties That Bind’ examines the life of three women Theresa Harper (Elise), Adobea Onyomena (Omotola) and Buki Ocansey (Ama K. Abebrese), bound together by a similar pain – the loss of a child. In a destined meeting, in a small village in Kroboland, the women journey together to redemption, love, life and forgiveness as they renovate a dilapidated clinic for the villagers.
Despite Elise’s phenomenal performance in the film, it couldn’t overshadow the irresistible gasp induced by audience when her name was mentioned as winner of the golden trophy. The surprise that accompanied her victory was entirely at the expense of her nationality.
Per category definition, the best actress (English) is positioned to celebrate the brilliant works of Ghanaian female actors.
Although the film was 100% recognized by the jury as a Ghanaian production, it was logically a mismatch to nominate Elise, who in the first place identifies as an American Actress.
If any win would have clamoured less controversy for Elise, the ‘best actress African collaboration’ was the alt fit. The category shelters performances played by other African acts in a mixed production (Ghana and any other African country).
Leading to the night, many had placed their bet on Okoro, who played wife to Majid Michel in the box-office seller ‘Why Marry’. Okoro’s performance was rated by critics and the general public as one of the most captivating performances seen in Ghanaian cinemas and as such equally deserved the nod.
Amidst the shock and surprises that surfaced in other categories (Funny Face’s best actor in a television series win over Chris Attoh will be discussed later), all nominees and winners melded into one breathless admiration at the end of the ceremony – at least, everyone got what he or she deserved.
Elise was not present at the event. Leila Djansi and Ama K. Abebrese received the award on her behalf.