Actress Mo'Nique (40221)

Actress and comedienne Mo’Nique received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2010 for her powerful role in Lee Daniels’ “Precious.” Recently, in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, she told her story of being “blackballed” from the film industry after her win, stating that Daniels was the person who called her with the news of her loss of support in Hollywood. 

Said the 47-year-old actress, “I got a phone call from Lee Daniels … And he said to me, ‘Mo’Nique, you’ve been blackballed.’ I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Because you didn’t play the game.’”

In response to the accusation that she did not campaign for the Oscar after being nominated, Mo’Nique said, “The things people were writing and saying, it was mind-blowing. But what I was saying was, ‘You want me to campaign for an award—and I say this with all the humility in the world—but you want me to campaign for an award that I didn’t ask for.

“So when I’m in Utah at the Sundance Festival, and an Asian brother comes up to me and breaks down in my arms, and says, ‘Mo’Nique, I am Mary Jones,’ do you know that’s the biggest award you could receive? It had nothing to do with a trophy. If people want to say I didn’t campaign because I took my family first? I’ll accept that.” 

Mo’Nique did not land an acting role for four years after “Precious,” until she finally gained a lead role in the coming-of-age film “Blackbird,” which co-stars Isaiah Washington and tells the story of a young man who struggles with his sexuality in a small Mississippi town. Nonetheless, the daunting news she received about her acting career has not affected her work as a producer. She and her husband, who is also an actor and producer, are working to release new projects independently. 

She told the Hollywood Reporter, “The next thing [Lee Daniels] said to me was, ‘Your husband is outbidding you.’ But he never asked me what [salary] we were asking for. You know, my husband [actor and producer Sidney Hicks] and I had to change things so we wouldn’t have to depend on [others]. So we do it independently. We’re very proud of taking the independent route, and we have a movie coming out on April 24 called ‘Blackbird.’”