Surprisingly, millions of Nollywood fans who never saw the 15 year old Ghanaian street boy called Abraham Attah in their favourite movies before warming the hearts of millions of movie freaks around the world are stunned by the boy’s talent.
Nollywood has become a sort of yardstick for measuring how far most actors and actresses in Africa can go in their career because of its popularity and creativity in the world. However, for Attah, he leaped to fame without even embracing the euphoria of Nollywood.
Today, Attah has become an inspiration to talented youngsters who are scattered on the streets of Africa, looking for who to discover them. Of course, he was discovered while playing in one of the streets in Ghana. Some has reported that he was first seen hawking before he was cast in the award winning movie ‘Beasts of No Nation’, which is not true.
There are things we must learn from this boy’s story, a lot of hard work was put in by Attah to be groomed, coached and developed in a year to become who he is in Hollywood. Ama K Abebrese, the actress who played Attah’s mother in the movie has made it known that the boy was not only lucky to be picked but also, he was willing to go the extra miles in acting his own part.
Thanks to the effort of Cary Fukunaga, the director of ‘Beast of No Nation’ who had given Attah the role of a child soldier called Agu in the movie, a role that has bagged the boy numerous awards and scores of nominations.
Attah is grateful to Fukunaga for changing his life, he has written specially to the director “Thank you to my friend Cary fukunaga. You changed my life when you picked me to play Agu. Thank you for all your help and guidance on this journey. I am grateful.#beastsofnonation#netflix”
Handling this sudden fame has not been easy on him. The speech he gave after winning Best Male Actor at the Independent Spirit Awards was criticized by three Ghanaian media personalities; Jay Foley of Live FM and Multimedia’s Mzgee and Lexis Bill.
Attah had responded like the child soldier Agu to these men: “l know that some of the radio presenters in Ghana are saying I gave a bad speech at the independent spirit awards. They don’t know what happen to me. I thought I was not going to win so I decided not to write any speech down. I was so surprise when she mentioned my name. I didn’t know what to say when I went up there”.
This forced the men to render unqualified apologies to Attah. The President of Ghana, John Mahama is proud of him and has not wasted time to congratulate him on his numerous feats. Aside the Independent Spirit Awards, he has equally won the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Young Actor at the Venice film festival, the National Board of Review Award for Best Breakthrough Performance, the Black Film Critics Rising Star Award, two awards at the Ghana Movie Awards, NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture, and the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer.
Attah was privileged to be one of the presenters at the last concluded 88th annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles. He went for attire that was going to pick the interest of everyone, a black tuxedo and velvet TOMS. Attah was in support of charity because the shoe brand, TOMS will donate 10,000 pairs of shoes to the people of Ghana.
The host of Oscar, Chris Rock made sure that the event were about as black as they could be, given that no black person was nominated in any of its high-profile categories. Little wonder, he was there for Attah and Jacob Tremblay when they took the Oscar stage, to support nine year old Tremblay with the mic when he couldn’t reach one to introduce the best live-action short category during the awards show.
Attah did showed his humour side immediately, when he said “The nominees this year show that when it comes to making an impact on the big screen, size really doesn’t matter.”
The good news is that this boy is not stopping at the ‘Beasts of No Nation’, he has come to stay with more movies looking for him (no Nollywood movie yet and we are wondering if he would ever play one); “The Modern Ocean” a movie he would act alongside Keanu Reeves, Daniel Radcliffe ,Anne Hathaway, Chloe Grace Moretz, Tom Holland, Jeff Goldblum and Asa Butterfield. “Out of the Village,” is another movie that we would be seeing him, a movie directed by Jonathan Stein.
There is no saying on how far Attah would go because Hollywood has taken him just it did to Lupita Amondi Nyong’o , the Mexican-Kenyan actress and many other young Africans who were discovered ‘accidentally.’