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Why Mo’Nique Shouldn’t Have Won The Oscar


by Dorthy Boyette



When it comes to awards, the Oscar is considered the highest accolade in the film industry. Winning an Oscar is not only a validation of an artist’s talent but also a mark of recognition that can propel their career to new heights. However, there are instances where the deserving may not always triumph, leaving both fans and critics divided in their opinions. One such instance was the controversial win of Mo’Nique for Best Supporting Actress at the 82nd Academy Awards.


Mo’Nique, known for her comedic roles, delivered a powerful performance in the film “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.” The brutal portrayal of an abusive mother earned her critical acclaim, but also sparked debates regarding her Oscar win. Some argue that she deserved the recognition, while others believe that there were more deserving contenders in the category.


In this article, we will delve into the reasons why Mo’Nique should not have won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. We will analyze her performance in “Precious,” compare her to the other nominees in her category, and explore the criticisms surrounding her win. By examining these factors, we can gain a deeper understanding of the controversy surrounding Mo’Nique’s Oscar triumph and the implications it holds for the future of the prestigious award.


Background on Mo’Nique’s Oscar win

Mo’Nique’s win for Best Supporting Actress at the 82nd Academy Awards took the industry by surprise. The actress, primarily known for her comedic roles, delivered a stunning portrayal of Mary Lee Johnston, a cruel and abusive mother, in the film “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.” The role showcased Mo’Nique’s versatility as an actress and earned her critical acclaim.


Leading up to the Oscars, Mo’Nique garnered attention and critical praise for her standout performance. She received several awards and nominations, including the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Her chilling portrayal of Mary Lee Johnston left audiences in awe of her acting prowess.


However, despite the acclaim, Mo’Nique’s win at the Oscars was met with controversy. Many questioned whether she truly deserved the prestigious award. Some believed that her win was influenced more by the buzz surrounding the film rather than the strength of her performance. Critics argued that other nominees in the category had delivered equally, if not more, compelling performances that were overlooked in favor of Mo’Nique’s breakthrough role.


The controversy surrounding Mo’Nique’s win stems from the perception that her career had primarily focused on comedy, making her win for a dramatic role seem unexpected. Many felt that her win was a deviation from the usual pattern of the Academy recognizing established dramatic actors for their transformative performances.


Overall, Mo’Nique’s Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress was a pivotal moment in her career. While it brought her widespread recognition and opened new doors for her in the industry, it also sparked debates about the criteria used to determine deserving winners and whether comedic actors should be given the same consideration as their dramatic counterparts.


Analysis of Mo’Nique’s performance in “Precious”

Mo’Nique’s performance as Mary Lee Johnston in “Precious” was undoubtedly powerful and left a lasting impact on viewers. Her portrayal of an abusive and manipulative mother was hauntingly realistic, delving into the depths of the character’s cruelty and unyielding control over her daughter, Precious.


One of the key strengths of Mo’Nique’s performance was her ability to fully embody the complex nature of Mary Lee Johnston. She portrayed the character with raw intensity, seamlessly transitioning between moments of explosive rage and subtle manipulation. Mo’Nique effectively showcased the character’s idiosyncrasies, from her menacing gaze to her sharp and venomous delivery of dialogue.


Mo’Nique’s portrayal also showcased her range as an actress. Known primarily as a comedienne, she immersed herself in the dark and emotionally demanding role, showing her versatility and proving that she was more than capable of tackling serious and dramatic material. Her performance in “Precious” displayed her ability to command the screen and elicit strong emotional reactions from the audience.


Furthermore, Mo’Nique’s acting brought depth and complexity to the character of Mary Lee Johnston. While the character was unequivocally despicable in her actions, Mo’Nique infused her with a sense of vulnerability and brokenness. This contrast allowed audiences to glimpse the inner turmoil that fueled Mary Lee’s abusive behavior, adding layers of complexity to the character.


In addition to her nuanced portrayal, Mo’Nique’s chemistry with the other actors in the film contributed to the effectiveness of her performance. The palpable tension between her character and Precious, portrayed by Gabourey Sidibe, created a sense of profound unease that lingered throughout the film. Mo’Nique’s ability to establish a realistic and believable dynamic with her co-stars further amplified the impact of her performance.


Overall, Mo’Nique’s performance in “Precious” was a tour de force. She effectively transformed herself into a despicable and multi-dimensional character, showcasing her range, intensity, and ability to immerse herself in difficult roles. Her performance captivated audiences and propelled her into the spotlight, deserving recognition for her exceptional portrayal of Mary Lee Johnston.


Comparison to other nominees

While Mo’Nique’s performance in “Precious” garnered widespread acclaim, it is necessary to compare her portrayal to the performances of the other nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category to fully assess the validity of her Oscar win.


One of the notable contenders in the category was Anna Kendrick for her role in “Up in the Air.” Kendrick’s portrayal of Natalie Keener, a young and ambitious colleague of George Clooney’s character, showcased her ability to portray a complex character navigating the challenges of corporate life. Her performance was nuanced and garnered critical praise for its subtlety and authenticity.


Another nominee was Vera Farmiga for her role in “Up in the Air” as well. Farmiga portrayed Alex Goran, a fellow traveler who shares a complicated romantic relationship with George Clooney’s character. Her performance was marked by its vulnerability and emotional depth, capturing the complexities of a character torn between her personal life and her connection to Clooney’s character.


Penelope Cruz was also nominated for her role in the musical film “Nine.” Her performance as Carla Albanese, a fiery and seductive mistress, showcased her sultry charm and charismatic presence. Cruz’s ability to captivate the audience with her fiery performance was widely acknowledged and added dimension to the film.


Maggie Gyllenhaal was nominated for her role in “Crazy Heart,” portraying Jean Craddock, a journalist who becomes intertwined with Jeff Bridges’ character. Gyllenhaal’s portrayal was praised for its authenticity and for bringing a sense of vulnerability and strength to the character.


Comparing Mo’Nique’s performance to these strong contenders highlights the subjective nature of award shows. While Mo’Nique undoubtedly delivered a standout performance in “Precious,” it could be argued that the performances of Kendrick, Farmiga, Cruz, and Gyllenhaal also possessed qualities deserving of recognition.


Ultimately, it is important to consider the overall impact and range of performances, as well as the unique challenges and complexities that each actor brought to their respective roles. While Mo’Nique’s win for Best Supporting Actress may have been met with controversy, it is crucial to acknowledge the strength of the performances from each nominee and the subjective nature of awards in the entertainment industry.


Criticisms of Mo’Nique’s win

Mo’Nique’s win for Best Supporting Actress at the 82nd Academy Awards was met with its fair share of criticism and controversy. While her performance in “Precious” was widely acclaimed, critics and industry insiders raised several valid points in questioning the validity of her Oscar win.


One of the main criticisms was the perception that Mo’Nique’s win was more influenced by the buzz surrounding the film rather than the strength of her performance. “Precious” received significant attention and accolades, and some argued that Mo’Nique’s win was a result of the film’s overall success rather than her individual prowess as an actress. This led to questions about whether the nomination and subsequent win were primarily driven by external factors, such as the film’s subject matter and social relevance.


Another criticism was centered around Mo’Nique’s limited body of work in comparison to her fellow nominees. While Mo’Nique delivered a remarkable performance in “Precious,” her career up until that point had primarily focused on comedic roles. Some critics argued that her win deviated from the Academy’s tendency to recognize established dramatic actors who have consistently delivered transformative performances over the course of their careers. This led to debates about whether Mo’Nique’s win was a result of her genuinely outstanding performance or if it was an outlier due to the novelty of her taking on a dramatic role.


Furthermore, there were those who believed that other nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category were equally, if not more, deserving of the award. The performances of Anna Kendrick, Vera Farmiga, Penelope Cruz, and Maggie Gyllenhaal were highly praised, and supporters of these actresses argued that their portrayals showcased equal, if not greater, depth, complexity, and range than Mo’Nique’s performance.


It is important to note that criticisms of Mo’Nique’s win should not detract from the strength of her performance and the impact she had in “Precious.” She delivered a chilling and powerful portrayal of an abusive mother that left a lasting impression on audiences. However, the criticisms raised regarding the external factors influencing her win and the performances of other nominees highlight the subjectivity inherent in award shows and the debates surrounding the recognition of talent in the industry.


Importance of the Oscar win

Mo’Nique’s Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress holds significant importance in both her career and the wider film industry. While the controversy surrounding her win remains, there are undeniable benefits and implications that arise from this prestigious recognition.


First and foremost, winning an Oscar is a testament to an actor’s skill and talent. It signifies recognition from industry peers and experts, solidifying their status as a respected artist. For Mo’Nique, the Oscar win brought her into the spotlight and provided a platform to showcase her versatility as an actress. It marked a turning point in her career, opening doors to more diverse and challenging roles, and establishing her as a force to be reckoned with in the dramatic genre.


The Oscar win also brings increased visibility and credibility, allowing actors to attract more significant projects and work with renowned filmmakers and actors. Mo’Nique’s win for “Precious” propelled her into the forefront of the industry’s attention, leading to opportunities that she may not have otherwise had access to. This recognition helped to expand the scope of her career, allowing her to navigate between comedy and drama and further diversify her acting portfolio.


Furthermore, an Oscar win can have a significant impact on an actor’s earning potential. It not only increases their market value but also puts them in a position to negotiate higher salaries and secure more lucrative endorsements, further elevating their status in the industry. For Mo’Nique, the Oscar win undoubtedly contributed to her earning power and provided a boost to her financial success.


From a broader perspective, Mo’Nique’s win challenged the traditional notions of what constitutes a worthy performance and paved the way for more recognition of actors outside of the typical dramatic genre. It shed light on the importance of diversity and representation in award shows, sparking conversations about the biases within the industry and the need for a more inclusive recognition of talent.


Mo’Nique’s win also had an impact on aspiring actors, particularly those from underrepresented communities. It served as a symbol of inspiration and possibility, proving that talent and hard work can overcome barriers and lead to industry acclaim. Her win encouraged aspiring actors to dream big and pursue their passion, knowing that their talent could be recognized, regardless of the genre they primarily worked in or the challenges they may face along the way.


Ultimately, while the controversies surrounding Mo’Nique’s Oscar win may continue to be debated, there is no denying the importance of this recognition. It elevated Mo’Nique’s career, challenged traditional notions of acting prowess, and served as a source of inspiration for aspiring talent. The power and influence of an Oscar win cannot be underestimated, as it continues to shape the trajectory of actors’ careers and the industry as a whole.



The controversy surrounding Mo’Nique’s Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress at the 82nd Academy Awards sparked heated debates and discussions within the film industry. While her performance in “Precious” was powerful and gripping, critics questioned the validity of her win, citing factors such as external influence and the strength of the performances from other nominees.


However, it is important to acknowledge the impact and significance of Mo’Nique’s Oscar win. It brought her career to new heights, showcasing her versatility as an actress and opening doors to diverse and challenging roles. The recognition from the Academy solidified her position as a respected and acclaimed artist, allowing her to attract higher-profile projects and negotiate more significant opportunities in the industry.


Beyond Mo’Nique’s individual success, her win challenged traditional notions of what constitutes a worthy performance and sparked conversations about diversity and inclusion in award shows. It served as an inspiration to aspiring actors, especially those from underrepresented communities, demonstrating that talent and hard work can overcome barriers and lead to industry recognition.


While debates about the deserving nature of Mo’Nique’s win may persist, it is important to view her Oscar triumph as a catalyst for change and a symbol of achievement. The controversy surrounding her win highlights the subjective nature of awards and the complexity of recognizing talent in the film industry. In the end, Mo’Nique’s win remains a significant milestone in her career and a reminder of the impact that awards can have on an actor’s trajectory and the industry as a whole.


Ultimately, whether or not Mo’Nique deserved the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress is a matter of personal opinion and perspective. However, what cannot be denied is the lasting effect her win had on her career, the conversations it ignited regarding recognition of talent, and the inspiration it provided to aspiring actors. Mo’Nique’s Oscar win will forever be a part of cinematic history, serving as a reminder of the complexity and subjectivity of award shows, as well as the power of a single performance to captivate and leave a lasting impact on audiences.