There is no denying that Precious has got critics and audiences in a lather, with audiences at Sundance, Cannes, and TIFF lauding the harrowing adaptation of Sapphire's first novel. Mo'Nique's performance as Precious' horrendously abusive mother monster Mary has also gotten folks humming about an Oscar nomination for the comedian, who readily acknowledges the dark places she had to go for this role. She told Eric Kohn in an interview at last year's Sundance that she herself was sexually abused and "The person who molested me was a monster. So I had to go to that person, because I know what it was like for me. [Daniels] said action, and be that monster." And wow, what a monster she became; each scene she was in cut closer to the bone. I covered my eyes in at least one scene and left the screening room slack-jawed.
But Roger Friedman at the Hollywood Reporter writes that Mo'Nique skipped press for the film at Cannes, TIFF, and the New York Film Festival, and that her newest publicist of just two weeks quit. Friedman writes "that Mo'Nique has gotten herself a reputation for demanding money for showing up to promote Precious. It's a first in Oscar history."
There was recently a knockout feature in the October 2009 issue of W featuring her and Precious star Gabourey Sidibe, but otherwise, Mo'Nique has been AWOL. Friedman adds, "The ostensible reason for this absence is that her BET talk show starts next week and she's taping shows. But she's not taping on Saturday or Sunday, so that dog doesn't hunt. And the first show, for Monday, is in the can."
Okay, so she's not promoting the film, which has got even exec producer Oprah and uber-diva Mariah Carey out on the red carpet. To play the devil's advocate, does an actor really need to promote his or her film to earn an Oscar nomination? On the other hand, should anyone be paid to actually promote a film? Wouldn't you think that, no matter his or her chances at a little gold statue, someone in a role that was so personal and painful would want to talk about it? I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt, that it's just too painful to rehash again and again, but I doubt it.
Plenty of stars demand certain perks to be on the covers of magazines – expensive stylists of their choosing and the like – but we're not (necessarily) talking magazine covers. We're talking about walking down a carpet and watching your own movie at the very least.
What's your take on it? Do you think the rumors are true? And if so, should an actor's behavior such as this affect his or her chances at a well-deserved nomination?