Members of the New York Film Critics Circle are responding on the record to news that Mo'Nique will not attend their awards ceremony on Jan. 11 to accept her supporting-actress prize for "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire." On Friday, one prominent member, speaking anonymously to Gold Derby, said her snub lends "credence to the story that she wants to be paid to show up for these things."
Thelma Adams (Us Weekly), two-time past NYFCC chairwoman, tells Gold Derby: "As a NYFCC member, my response is more snacks and drinks for us, and more available seats for more congenial people. My guess is that Meryl will attend."
Lou Lumenick of the New York Post makes a sly reference to recent news that Oprah Winfrey will not be among the three producers to receive an Oscar statuette if "Precious" wins best picture. She's accused of being just an "air quote" producer who actually had nothing to do with making the movie, but loaned her name to its marquee to help sell tickets.
Referring to Mo'Nique, Lumenick tells Gold Derby, "Maybe Oprah can fill in for her. Heath Ledger didn't bother showing up to collect his best actor prize for 'Brokeback Mountain,' but Philip Seymour Hoffman graciously agreed to present the first-film prize to the director of 'Capote.' Hoffman went on to win the Oscar."
The "air quote" accusation against Oprah was made by one of the most severe critics of "Precious," Armond White of New York Press, who is the current NYFCC chairman. He tells Gold Derby that he doesn't like to view Mo'Nique's absence from his awards dinner as a snub, adding, "Throughout the Circle's 75-year history, circumstances have sometimes prevented great actresses like Julie Christie, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Dianne Wiest from appearing in person. Many prominent, courteous artists are confirmed for this year. Believe me, the show will go on."
Memo to Mo'Nique: Gold Derby will pay you an Alexander Hamilton if you'll attend the NYFCC ceremony. Sorry, we can't afford a Benjamin.
Photo credit: Lionsgate