Mo'Nique's turn in Precious was phenomenal — but much of the chatter on Hollywood blogs has surrounded her refusals to campaign for an Oscar — or pander to the academy. But does Mo'Nique have the right idea?
Over on ShowBiz 411, Roger Friedman is perplexed by why Mo'Nique would refuse to get with the Oscar program:
She's been nominated for several best supporting actress awards, but talk show host and comedian Mo'Nique doesn't care or doesn't get it. [...]
In the past, a few actors have missed awards shows. But they were all well established or lived outside the U.S. [...]
Nothing seems to get through, which is odd because Mo'Nique seems like a bright person. But snubbing the NYFCC is a plan she should reconsider. She makes a point in that clip: she made the movie, you see her performance, what else can she do? This is a bit naive, but true fundamentally. But maybe she doesn't understand that she's already won this award. This isn't the same as doing publicity.
What's next? The Golden Globes? The Oscars? If these things don't mean anything to her, there are plenty of actresses who will appreciate the honors, from Julianne Moore to Anna Kendrick to Vera Farmiga. Mo'Nique: fame is fleeting. Enjoy all this while you can!
But the answer is pretty clear. Mo'Nique has already stated why she's not tripping over an Oscar:
Let's read between the lines a bit here. Mo'Nique asks two Oscar nominated people (Terrance Howard and Taraji P. Henson), who have been through the process, what the net financial benefit was and they couldn't really answer her with anything but "exposure."
In addition, all three participants in the conversation talk about "your audience" versus the academy. Mo'Nique has a very specific audience - one that is predominantly African American, and predominantly female. Mo'Nique is very well represented in black media, and occasionally makes forays into the mainstream. But the implication of people like Friedman is that she needs to look at crafting a "real" career - that all this niche work with the African American community isn't worth as much as the potential promise of the Oscars. Taraji explains that "we" have our fans, but the Academy (and most award shows that are not dedicated to specific communities) may not have that same type of representation. But, all that depends on whether or not Mo'Nique wants a different type of career. After all, the one she has looks pretty good from where I sit - a late night talk show, successful franchises, and the freedom to be unapologetically herself isn't a terrible lot in life.
Finally, considering the relatively dismal record of African Americans in competition for the Oscars (not to mention the Academy's stranger decisions, like giving Denzel Washington the nod for the forgettable Training Day, rather than just about any of the other roles he portrayed), well...maybe Mo'Nique is better off not getting too invested in all the hoopla.
In the meantime, Steve Pond over at The Wrap is rolling his eyes at the whole situation, noting that much of it appears to be sour grapes on behalf of the New York Film Critics awards - another venue Mo'Nique has decided to skip. Pond opines that far from being self-sabotage, Mo'Nique might actually have the right strategy:
My two cents:
1) For the most part, the Academy won't care. Snubbing film critics isn't an actionable offense; in fact, it's something that most AMPAS voters have probably wanted to do many times over the years.
2) Besides which, many members of the Academy won't mind if she snubs every other awards show and critics group in existence. In fact, that Academy would love it if she refused to attend all the others. They know she'll be at the Oscar show – let's face it, pride and Oprah won't let her miss that one. And if that's the only show she attends, it'll just make the Oscars seem that more special, and reinforce that it's the only awards show that really counts.
Is she "ruining her Oscar hopes?" Hell, if this is the worst she can do, I think she might be improving them.
Mo'Nique Speaks: What Does The Oscar Mean Financially? [Showbiz 411]
List of black Academy Award winners and nominees [Wikipedia]
Good Morning, Oscar: All-Mo'Nique Edition [The Wrap]