Prior to winning the 2010 Academy Award for her role in Precious, Mo’Nique told HipHollywood exclusively in November 2009 that Hollywood “can be a b*tch” and that “they will blow you up on Monday and on Tuesday they don’t know your name.”
But what the actress probably didn’t foresee was that she would soon be blackballed from Hollywood for not playing “the game.”
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mo’Nique explained that director, Lee Daniels, recently called her up and shared with her why roles were not flying in. “He said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’ve been blackballed.’ And I said, ‘I’ve been blackballed? Why have I been blackballed?’ And he said, ‘Because you didn’t play the game,'” the Baltimore native said.
According to the actress, during the 2009-2010 award season, she was criticized for not campaigning for the Academy Award. “The things people were writing and saying, it was mind-blowing,” she said. “But what I was saying was, ‘You want me to campaign for an award — and I say this with all the humility in the world — but you want me to campaign for an award that I didn’t ask for.”
The 47-year-old made it very clear to HipHolywood on several different occasions before and after her big win that she was never focused on Oscar buzz. “We didn’t go into this film [Precious] with Oscar on our mind. This movie is so impactful that we’ve already won the Oscar,” she told us in November 2009.
And in December 2010, when asked how her life changed after the 2010 Academy Awards she said: “I keep getting asked that question: ‘What happened after you got the Oscar?’ Like this magical thing happened the next morning. Life was what it was before I go the Oscar. I feel like if I give that Oscar all that credit the universe will say ‘really, we’ve given you so much but the only thing you recognize is this trophy.'”
And with the decision to not heavily campaign and focus on the golden statuettee, the academy still recognized the comedian for her performance in the 2009 drama. But during her acceptance speech she immediately called out the organization “for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics.” However, the speech was perceived as a backhanded compliment.
“What I understood was that when I won that Oscar, things would change in all the ways you’re saying: It should come with more respect, more choices and more money. It should, and it normally does … I thought, once you won the award, that’s the top prize — and so you’re supposed to be treated as if you got the top prize,” she told the publication.
Daniels later clarified his “blackball” comment to the THR in a statement that read: “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.”
Mo’Nique explained to THR “I was offered the role in The Butler that Oprah Winfrey played. I was also approached by Empire to be on Empire. And I was also offered the role as Richard Pryor’s grandmother in [Daniels’ upcoming Pryor biopic]. Each of those things that he offered me was taken off the table. (Laughs.) They all just went away.”
But despite not recently being featured in a major theatrical film or show since Precious, she has been hard at work with her husband, Sidney Hicks, working independently. The couple has a film, Blackbird, set to release in April.