Mo'Nique to snub New York Film Critics Circle Awards ceremony -- Is she killing her shot at the Oscar?
Mo'Nique's rep confirms that the star of "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" will not attend the Manhattan critics' banquet on Jan. 11 where director Lee Daniels will accept the supporting-actress award on his star's behalf at Crimson restaurant. However, Terrie Williams tells Gold Derby that the reason isn't because the critics refuse to pay Mo'Nique an appearance fee. Williams says, "Mo'Nique and her family will just be returning from vacation that very night. She begins taping her TV show in the a.m. on the 12th" in Atlanta.
Williams says she doesn't yet know if Mo'Nique will attend other award ceremonies where her presence is expected. "We're still firming up plans," she adds. Mo'Nique has already won best supporting actress from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., which will bestow its prizes at a dinner to be held on Jan. 16 at the InterContinental Hotel. She's also nominated at the Critics' Choice Awards (Jan. 15), Golden Globes (Jan. 17) and SAG Awards (Jan. 23) in Los Angeles.
Many Oscar gurus believe Mo'Nique may be ruining her Oscar hopes by refusing to campaign and support "Precious" while also allegedly making outrageous demands for money that is not customarily paid to promote small artsy films. Mo'Nique didn't show up at the Toronto Film Festival and, even though Lionsgate promised that she'd attend the New York Film Festival, she skipped it too.
Roger Friedman of the Hollywood Reporter noted recently, "Rumors have been swirling for some time that the actress-comedienne … has been demanding payments for personal appearances to promote the movie. One source close to the production insists that Mo’Nique asked for $100,000 at one point to show up with the rest of the cast."
A source told the New York Daily News, "Mo'Nique said she signed on to do this film for a small amount of money. She said she didn't care about 'no Oscar' — all that mattered was 'those Benjamins!' Because Oprah and Tyler Perry are backing the film, she feels as though there should be a budget to pay for her promotional duties."
Lionsgate denies that Mo'Nique is refusing to promote the film, noting that she's made appearances on the "Today" show and other programs, but she also used those media opportunities to tout her new BET network chat show.
Scott Feinberg (AndTheWinnerIs) recently dug up a shocking clip of Mo'Nique's TV show from early November when she chatted with past Oscar nominees Terence Howard ("Hustle & Flow") and Taraji P. Henson ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"). Bluntly, she asked them why she should bother campaigning.
"What are you campaigning for, though?" she asks. "Let me ask y'all this, because I know y'all are gonna school me correctly: What does it mean financially?"
Howard tries strenuously to explain to Mo'Nique that she needs to pitch in to help to spread the word about a small, important, artistic film so that it can be widely seen and become successful, but she just doesn't appear to grasp the idea.
"My feeling is just different in reference to this campaigning," she says. "I'm really trying to understand it. When they say 'campaign' I say, 'Wait a minute! President Barack Obama had to campaign because he had something to prove that he could do it, but — whoa! — the performance is on the screen so at what point am I still trying to prove something?"
"Your fans here aren't members of the academy," Howard explains to her. "You have to reach that whole other group of people."
Mo'Nique looks befuddled. She doesn't understand any of it.
Gold Derby asked a rep for Lionsgate to comment, but we did not hear back.
CLICK HERE to read the reactions of top NYFCC members to the news of Mo'Nique's snub.
Photo: BET TV