Winning an Oscar usually means opened doors for actors/actresses. But for Mo’Nique? Not so much.
Ever since she took home the bet supporting actress Oscar in 2010 for her role in Precious, the 47-year-old comedienne/actress has been MIA on both the big screen and the small screen. In fact, she’s only been in ONE other movie in the five years since winning acting’s highest honor. And her talk show? It was cancelled after two seasons four years ago.
So what happened?
Mo may have kept it way too real with Hollywood and got blackballed as a result.
In an essay to be published in The Hollywood Reporter next week, the Baltimore native confirmed that work has been super slow, but she didn’t know why until Precious director Lee Daniels told her a few months ago.
I got a phone call from Lee Daniels…And he said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’ve been blackballed.’ I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Because you didn’t play the game.’
“The game” Lee is referring to may be the Oscar campaigning game. During Oscar season, nominated actors/actresses usually attend every promo event in an effort to drum up publicity for their Oscar bid, even though winning is performance-based and not ass-kissing-based. For Precious, Mo’Nique skipped nearly all the film’s promo events and it was rumored she was requesting as much as $100,000 in appearance fees, and that didn’t include her glam squad that she required to fly first class. She would later say because of her talk show, she couldn’t be missing days off work and not be compensated for it since she had a family to feed.
Well, when they say Mo’Nique was worried about money, I wasn’t worried about money. Mo’Nique has a talk show that comes on five nights a week and she tapes six times a week for that talk show. And yes, when I leave my home, I leave my home and get paid to leave my home, so I wasn’t worried about money. They simply said, “You know, well Mo’Nique we can’t pay you to do that.” … We said, “OK, baby. Well, then, that’s not something we can do.” Because, when I leave out, why ever would I go do something for free when I can go and do something and bring money back home to my family?
In her essay, Mo’Nique further implies that her “difficult,” “tactless” or “tacky” attitude may also be reasons why the movie well’s drying up, and credits part of that to being from B-More and “not letting anyone take advantage of her.” So now those roles are going to Oprah.
She reveals she was offered to play Forest Whitaker’s wife in Lee’s The Butler, but that went to Lady O, as did the role of Richard Pryor’s grandmother in the comic’s biopic that Lee is also working on. The actress also had a role in Lee’s Empire as well, but that, according to her, “went away.” Meanwhile, her ‘Precious’ co-star Gabourey is constantly getting work, including a role on ‘Empire,’ ‘American Horror Story,’ and ‘The Big C’ and ‘Tower Heist.’
In a rebuttal statement, Lee somewhat confirmed Mo’s diva demands during Precious, but says he ultimately isn’t the one who makes the casting decisions despite going to bat for her.
Mo’Nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community. I consider her a friend. I have and will always think of her for parts that we can collaborate on, however the consensus among the creative teams and powers thus far were to go another way with these roles.
On the positive side of things, Mo’s Blackbird movie was picked up at the Urban Movie Channel, and she’s currently working on HBO’s Bessie Smith biopic.
Related Post: Did Mo’Nique Boycott The Oscars?