03/07/2010 AT 10:00 PM ET
Its title proved prescient. Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire was a double winner during the middle point of the 2010 Academy Awards on Sunday night.
Even though she seemingly had a lock on the Supporting Actress Oscar, Mo’Nique triggered a welcome jolt that reverberated through Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre when her name was announced. She first thanked the Academy “for showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics.”
She then paid tribute to Gone with the Wind Supporting Actress Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American ever to win an Oscar (in 1940), and “for enduring all she had to, so I wouldn’t have to.”
In her red-carpet appearance earlier Sunday, Mo’Nique told emcee Ryan Seacrest that when it came to singling out the work of which she was proud, she felt just as thrilled to have been a part of Soul Place as she was Precious – though she especially appreciates the beauty of Precious’s message: “Change our lives.”
The stark drama, directed by Lee Daniels and featuring a standout performance by Best Actress nominee Gabourey Sidibe, was a decided change of pace for the mostly comedic Mo’Nique, whose other movies also include Phat Girlz and Beerfest. The Maryland native, whose resumé includes a stint as a phone-sex operator, is married to actor-producer Sidney Hicks – whom she thanked in her acceptance speech for the advice he gave her. That was, “Sometimes you have to forgo doing something that’s popular in order to do what’s right.”
Precious’s Adapted Screenplay also picked up an Oscar for its writer, Geoffrey Fletcher, whose tearful acceptance caused even Morgan Freeman’s eyes to well up as the Invictus nominee sat in the audience.