Oscar Moment: “Precious”

22 09 2009

Today, you get to witness the birth of something miraculous.  A new column is born out of Marshall’s avoidance of writing more reviews (there are 3 that will come down the pipeline soon, I promise!), the “Oscar Moment.”  Every time there is a big piece of news involving the Academy Awards or big Oscar candidate emerges, you can count on finding it here.

The inaugural “Oscar Moment” is centered around “Precious.”  The film has positioned itself as a virtual lock for a Best Picture nomination and a frontrunner for the win.  It has won the People Choice Awards at two of the most prestigious film festivals, Sundance and Toronto.  This is the first movie to have taken both awards.  I have been hearing nothing but raves about it for months, including from a friend of mine who saw it at Sundance earlier this year.  He describes it as one of the most emotionally wrenching movies he has ever watched and a marvel of filmmaking.  He also sang the praises of Mo’Nique, considered to be the one to beat in the Best Supporting Actress category this year, saying that he “has never felt such mixed emotions about a character.”

The movie is adapted from a novel by the author Sapphire, originally titled “Push.”  Unfortunately, due to a certain superhero movie that opened earlier this year, the movie chose to change its title to “Precious” after the main character.  Precious is an illiterate and obese teenager living in poverty in New York.  Bad enough for you yet?  She has an abusive mother.  Still not tough enough?  She is carrying her second child by her father.  Yet through all of this, Precious manages to maintain hope, dreaming of marrying a light-skinned boy and getting an education.

“Precious” tackles tough topics, and if it is anything like the trailer, we are in for a bumpy ride.  And I can’t tell if it is supposed to be uplifting at all.  Frankly, I don’t want to know.  But every piece about the movie that I have read has described it as an emotional roller coaster and a movie with such power that you have to get into the proper mental state to prepare yourself for viewing.  I certainly admire movies that are so affecting that I can only watch them once, such as “Schindler’s List,” “The Pianist,” and “Revolutionary Road.”  With the exception of the latter, they have found great success at the Oscars.  However, I think the content that “Precious” deals with may be too polarizing for a win.  But I can guarantee I will show up on opening weekend at my art house cinema with a pack of tissues, prepared to have my heart ripped out.

BEST BETS FOR NOMINATIONS: Best Picture, Best Director (Lee Daniels), Best Actress (Gabourey Sidibe), Best Supporting Actress (Mo’Nique), Best Adapted Screenplay

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3 responses

23 09 2009
Gillian

I just can’t get over the fact that Mo’nique is in this and is being taken seriously. Her, and Mariah Carey. So strange. This looks fantastic and I can’t wait to see it (and probably cry… a lot).

The one thing that REALLY bothers me is that Oprah is somehow involved. Guh.

29 09 2009
theteencritic

Not that I don’t want to see this, but I can’t stop thinking of what awful things Armond White will say about this. But whatever. No one takes him seriously.

Anywho, this looks to be an incredible film. It’s in my top five of the lower-profile films coming out this Oscar season, and it’s on my radar for seeing on November 20.

But you’re kind of right, Oscar-wise. In my newest predictions, I have it winning some big ones…except Best Picture. Director, yes, but I think this will be a split year, with “Up in the Air” taking the crown. But this is only September.

29 09 2009
Marshall

I haven’t made a bold prediction for Best Picture yet. With no one having seen “Nine” or “Invictus” yet, we really have no idea how they will play into the race. But I don’t think it’s completely far-fetched for a movie like “Up” or “The Hurt Locker” to win. The new voting rules turn Best Picture into least common denominator … and everyone with a heart loves “Up.”

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