With her best-supporting actress win at last night's Golden Globe Awards, Mo'Nique has emerged as the solid favorite to win the Oscar. And her tearful and heartfelt acceptance speech dispelled any notion that the Baltimore County-born actress didn't much care for Hollywood awards.
Mo'Nique earned the Golden Globe for playing Mary Jones, a monstrous, abusive welfare mother with a disarming moment of clarity in the movie "Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire." A moved Mo'Nique, who until the movie was released in November was known more for her stand-up comedy and BET talk show than for her acting chops, received a prolonged ovation from an audience composed largely of her acting peers.
"I celebrate this award with all the Preciouses, with all the Marys," said Mo'Nique, dressed in a sleeveless, strapless gold-colored gown gathered at the waist. "I celebrate this award with every person that's ever been touched. It's now time to tell."
Mo'Nique's win came over such Hollywood royalty as Penelope Cruz and Julianne Moore, both previous Golden Globe and Oscar nominees. With a handful of year-end awards already on her mantle, including the New York Film Critics and Critics Choice awards, she's clearly the one to beat in this year's supporting actress Oscar race.
"It's a huge boost," said Jed Dietz, founder of the Maryland Film Festival. "All of these awards build on each other."
Oscar nominations will be announced Feb. 2 and the awards are set for March 7. Mo'Nique is already among those nominated for a Spirit award, which are awarded the same weekend as the Oscars, for smaller-budget films made outside the Hollywood mainstream.
Mo'Nique enthusiasm for such prizes as the Oscar and Golden Globe had been questioned in recent weeks, as she seemed unwilling to campaign for the awards and failed to show for some of the movie's festival screenings and premieres. But after she won the Critics Choice award Friday, her husband, Sidney Hicks, answered his wife's critics.
"She's the first woman of African-American descent to ever have a late-night TV show, she's also a comedian," Hicks told a press gathering after the ceremony. "In conjunction with that, she's a mother, she's also a wife. She hasn't been at all of them, but she has been at some... She'd rather portray a bad mother in the movies than actually be one in real life." Last night in Los Angeles, Mo'Nique seemed happy to play the awards game.
"First, let me say, 'Thank you, God, for this amazing ride," Mo'Nique said after taking the stage at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. She went on to praise her director, Lee Daniels ("a brilliant, fearless, amazing director," she called him) and co-star Gabourey Sidibe.
"Sister, I am in awe of you," she said.