In fact, the film's onerous title is one of the few flaws many critics have found with 'Precious'. After wowing the festival circuit earlier this year -- receiving a standing ovation at Cannes and winning the Audience awards at both Sundance and Toronto, (the first film ever to win both) -- 'Precious' is garnering raves again as it opens this week in theaters nationwide. If Oscar buzz were directly proportional to the length of a film's title, then the success of 'Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire' would be a foregone conclusion. Of course awards season predictions are never quite that simple, and it's a good thing, too. If the winners were that foreseeable, what would become of our office Oscar pools?
In fact, the film's onerous title is one of the few flaws many critics have found with 'Precious'. After wowing the festival circuit earlier this year -- receiving a standing ovation at Cannes and winning the Audience awards at both Sundance and Toronto, (the first film ever to win both) -- 'Precious' is garnering raves again as it opens this week in theaters nationwide.
Helmed by 'Monster's Ball' producer Lee Daniels, 'Precious' tells the story of Claireece "Precious" Jones (newcomer Gabourey Sidibe), a 16-year old African-American girl born into a life of chaos and poverty. Set in Harlem in 1987, the movie chronicles Precious's struggle to overcome the desperation of her circumstances, including the emotional and physical abuse she suffers at the hands of her mother (Mo'Nique).
The film's themes of hope and redemption have attracted friends in high places: Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry signed on as executive producers earlier this year. Pop superstars Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz also appear in the film, foregoing glamour in their respective roles as a social worker and male nurse and garnering positive mentions for their efforts.
Still, Mo'Nique's and Sidibe's are the film's standout performances, and the critics haven't been shy about throwing around awards predictions. As of now the film stands a good chance of seeing nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Daniels), Best Actress (Sidibe), Best Supporting Actress (Mo'Nique) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Geoffrey Fletcher). Oscar pool enthusiasts, take note!
A few highlights from reviews around the Web:
Dave Karger, Entertainment Weekly: "If there were an Oscar for Most Improved Director, Daniels would be a lock. A nomination for plain old Best Director may just have to suffice."
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "'Precious' is going to be one of the top contenders for this year's Oscars' Best Picture."
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: "Sidibe is heartbreaking as Precious, that poor girl. Three other actresses perform so powerfully in the film that academy voters will be hard-pressed to choose among them."
Rex Reed, New York Observer: "It's a once-in-a-blue moon experience that tests the boundaries of film, with an electrifying, positively Oscar-worthy performance by salty stand-up comic Mo'Nique, as the most monstrous mother on the planet."
David Germain, Associated Press: "'Precious' is great American cinema...Mo'Nique should win an Oscar for this performance."
'Precious' Movie Trailer