You gotta love that little thing called Oscar politics which sometimes derails the forward momentum of a universally buzzed about film.
The first blow of the season lands on a film that really doesn't need controversy around it: "Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire" by Lee Daniels, which was a hit at Sundance, but so what. That generally means diddly, no? Not this year, the film, evidently a harrowing look at family abuse, has managed to leave its indie ghetto and pretty much impress and blow everyone who has seen it (though one of our reviewers from Cannes didn't love it as much as everyone else did). It was so beloved at the Toronto International Film Festival it won the audience award which is generally regarded as the festival's top prize.
It's a likely a 10 Best Picture nominee, but it's also a very small film with a relatively small studio behind it (Lionsgate) so, just keep your mouth quiet, smile for the cameras and earn your 9th or 10th slot on the Best Picture, right?
Well, one star of the film, comedienne Mo'Nique (who apparently delivers a brutally good performance as a verbally and abusive mother to her overweight and illiterate teenage daughter) has botched that plan.
According to Showbiz 411 (the reptilian Roger Friedman) Mo'Nique has now reneged to appear on Saturday’s New York Film Festival premiere of “Precious” and her new publicist has just quit as well after two weeks of work.
Apparently she's been acting disinterested in her Oscar chances for the film not appearing at Cannes, TIFF and now NYFF.
"I did tell you that Mo’Nique has gotten herself a reputation for demanding money for showing up to promote “Precious.” It’s a first in Oscar history," Friedman writes.So there's that, which may or may not affect her chances later on. It's still early days. Meanwhile, the Weinstein Company who were engaged in multiple lawsuits against Lionsgate and the producers of “Precious” — they allege that they had first dibs on the film and then the producers turned around and sold it to a higher bidder — lost their first key breach-of-contract suit against the producers this week and now their bid to seek remunerative or punitive damages seems all but lost.
Some outlets are reporting that TWC has lost "Precious" outright and while that does appear to be the case and the final ultimate outcome, technically there are three more lawsuits to go. But their chances look pretty pitiful and the L.A. Times outlined some of the email "evidence," that the Weinstein company has put together and it's rather hilarious or as Movieline aptly puts it, "some of the most fantastically desperate posturing in the history of Sundance bidding wars."
"I just got off the phone with Harvey and I am glad to confirm that we have a deal," is one hilarious email submitted as evidence as to why TWC should actually have the rights to distribute the film. Umm, yeah, no...