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Defending Mo'Nique

by Melissa Silverstein
January 12, 2010 11:12 AM
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One of the ongoing narratives of this awards season has been about Mo'Nique. About how great her performance is, and also about how supposedly ungrateful she is because she hasn't been criss-crossing the country to gather all her accolades.

In the this Sunday's NY Times, David Carr talks to Mo'Nique about the issue. She rightfully says: "the performance is on the screen. So at what point am I still trying to prove something?”

All this campaigning and kissing babies (so to speak) has gotten out of control and is like an inside baseball circle jerk.

I'm not a part of all the Oscar lunches and events -- I get invited to a couple of things -- but I'm mostly an outsider looking in reading the blogs and trying to understand all the ins and outs.

The thing about the whole Mo'Nique situation that has bothered me is the relentlessness in trying to bully her to play the game more. I love that she won't be bullied. In that way she's like her character.

She a working mom with young kids and a show that recently premiered and tapes 6 episodes a week. That's a tremendous amount of work. She's got her priorities straight and should actually be applauded for that, not made to feel that "her behavior" and "snubs" will cause people to deny her a nomination.

What grade are we in people? Third, fourth?

The whole conversation has smelled bad from day one. I never heard her say a single word against any of the awards she received, she just couldn't attend the ceremonies. I'm no historical expert but I remember when Sean Penn wouldn't show up anywhere and no one ever said that should preclude him from receiving a nomination.

The conversation is also sexist. She has a full time job. I follow the twitter feed of Jason Reitman, director of Up in the Air and he is on a flight every day. He is all over the place talking about his movie, saying the same thing to audience after audience that even though I heard his speech only a couple of times, it felt like a boring stump speech. I don't begrudge him for working the system, his movie is good and worthy of consideration. Mr. Reitman also had a young child, but, still here he is on flights all over talking up the film. I don't know if his wife and child travel with him but we know there is still a different standard for women. If Mo'Nique were traveling all over the country we'd find a way to berate her for leaving her kids for months to "campaign" for her Oscar. It's a lose, lose situation.

From all we've read about Precious it was supposed to be a small movie. Nobody, especially the people who worked on it, expected (I'm sure somewhere in the back of their minds they hoped) that the film would get the recognition it has. What's impressive about the film is that since it's premiere last January in Sundance it has kept the buzz going. That positive buzz even with tons of money is hard to sustain. Mo'Nique's performance has been THE performance of the year. She's stayed on every list and won most awards. Her closest competition is Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air, and I think for her the nomination will be the win. She's going to have a great career. Mo'Nique's performance was so singular this year that it would be a huge travesty if so-called Oscar politics got in the way and denied her the Oscar in March.

Me, Campaign? Just got to the Film (NY Times)

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