Huge controversy surrounds the involvement of Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire." They signed on as executive producers after the film was shot, thus offering their celebrity status as support to help boost the profile of a movie with an important social message. Are they therefore entitled to win an Oscar statuette if "Precious" wins best picture?
Official answer: no. "The rule is up to three producers get statuettes," a studio rep tells Gold Derby. "The producers are Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness."
Among those slamming Winfrey and Perry for their participation in "Precious" is Armond White of New York Press, who is chairman of the New York Film Critics Cirlce. Recently, he fumed in print: "Shame on Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey for signing on as air-quote executive producers of 'Precious.' After this post-hip-hop freak show wowed Sundance last January, it now slouches toward Oscar ratification thanks to its powerful friends. Winfrey and Perry had no hand in the actual production of 'Precious,' yet the movie must have touched some sore spot in their demagogue psyches. They've piggybacked their reps as black success stories hoping to camouflage 'Precious'' con job — even though it's more scandalous than their own upliftment trade."
Watch Winfrey and Perry discuss "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" in this trailer.
Photos: Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. Credit: Lionsgate