Meet Nollywood Stars | 19 December 2014 20:01 CET

Why Steven Spielberg Did Not Know Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Queen of Nollywood

By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

Yes, legendary Academy Award winning director Steven Spielberg knows Lupita Nyong'o of Kenya who is famous for winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her critically acclaimed role of "Patsey" in Steve McQueen's multiple award winning historical drama "12 Years a Slave" (2013), and he also knows Rachel Mwanza of Democratic Republic of the Congo who won the coveted Silver Bear for Best Actress at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival in February 2012, Best Actress at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, Vancouver Film Critics Circle in 2012 and Best Actress at the 1st Canadian Screen Awards for her unforgettable role as "Komona" in the Academy Award nominated film "War Witch" (French: Rebelle) by Kim Nguyen. But Spielberg did not know Nigeria's Queen of Nollywood Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, aka Omosexy when he met her for the first time in 2013.

"She scores a zero on the Hollywood Richter scale. She has never starred in a major motion picture. Her most recent film, Last Flight to Abuja, means nothing to devotees of Netflix and LoveFilm," reported Ben Arogundade for the Telegraph of UK on August 28, 2013. And went on to add that world famous Steven Spielberg did not know her even though she was sitting next to him at the TIME 100 Gala dinner she was attending as one of the 2013 TIME 100 Most Influential People in the world.

He did not know her even though she has acted leading roles in more than 300 Nollywood movies and has her own reality TV show "The Real Me" on the AfricaMagic channel of M-Net Africa's DStv, MultiChoice's digital satellite TV service launched in 1995.

But why?

Steven Spielberg did not know Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, because she has never starred in a major motion picture by Hollywood standards.

What of her role as "Anya" in Chineze Anyaene's "Ijé-the Journey" in 2010?

That was a great role that I would even call an Oscar performance, but "Ijé" was not a major motion picture and did not even have any Hollywood theatrical release like Tony Abulu's "Doctor Bello" and Biyi Bandele's "Half of a Yellow Sun" of 2013, even though the two films were among the worst box office flops of the year. Moreover, all the hype of Nollywood being the second largest film industry in the world does not resonate in Hollywood.

Omotola is yet to star in a major motion picture and until she does, Spielberg and other leading world class directors will continue to ignore her. And she must not rest on the oars of her Nollywood glories, because the only way she can prove that she is a world class actress is to compete with the best in motion picture where Lupita Nyong'o, Rachel Mwanza , Leleti Khumalo, Wunmi Mosaku, Carmen Elizabeth Ejogo and other African actresses are making headlines and making millions of dollars. She has conquered Nollywood and now is the time to step up and move on to greater heights in her acting career until she can walk on the red carpet at the Cannes and Oscars as a competitor and not as a spectator.

Nollywood is a big business—contributing 1.2% to Nigeria's gross domestic product and employing more than a million people, according to a report by the Economist on Selling BlackBerry Babes. And it is about time for Nollywood movies to make box office records in Hollywood.

For those who don't know who is Steven Spielberg.

He is an American film director who is one of the most accomplished important filmmakers in the history of motion picture. He has won two Academy Awards for his "Schindler's List" (1993 / 66th Academy Awards) and "Saving Private Ryan" (1998 / 71st Academy Awards) and has received a total of 7 Academy Award nominations.

Most people in the world know him for his blockbusters "Jaws" (1975), "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982), and "Jurassic Park (1993). His films have made more than US$8.5 billion worldwide with Spielberg making more than US$3 billion according to Forbes.

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