Mo'nique Says She Was 'Blackballed' After Oscar Win
Five years ago, Mo’Nique’s Best Supporting Actress win seemed to signal a breakout for the actor and comedian. But in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she revealed she didn’t get the roles or recognition that generally comes with one of those golden statuettes.
In her 2010 acceptance speech, Mo’Nique thanked Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award, “for enduring all that she had to, so that I would not have to.” In 1940, McDaniel won the award for her portrayal of Mammy, the head slave at Gone with the Wind’s fictional plantation. The film’s director, David O. Selznick, had to call in a special favor so that McDaniel would even be allowed into the building where the ceremony was held - it was strictly segregated.
And while McDaniel’s win was monumental for black actresses in the industry, it didn’t change her career. She continued to play the role of “maid” in dozens of movies. Mo’nique pointed out to The Hollywood Reporter that this had nothing to do with McDaniel’s abilities. “What that woman had to endure was criticism from the white communityand the black community. She didn't have options to say, "No, I'm not going to accept that," because she was an actress.”
Mo’nique went on to discuss her own career after her Academy Award. Did it change?
“What I understood was that when I won that Oscar, things would change in all the ways you're saying: It should come with more respect, more choices and more money. It should, and it normally does. Hattie said, 'After I won that award, it was as if I had done something wrong.' It was the same with me. I thought, once you won the award, that's the top prize — and so you're supposed to be treated as if you got the top prize.
I got a phone call from Lee Daniels maybe six or seven months ago. And he said to me, 'Mo'Nique, you've been blackballed.' And I said, "I've been blackballed? Why have I been blackballed?" And he said, "Because you didn't play the game."
Mo’Nique famously didn’t campaign for her Oscar, and in her acceptance speech she said she was grateful the Academy showed “that it can be about the performance and not the politics.”
For his part, Daniels told THR: "Mo'Nique is a creative force to be reckoned with. Her demands through Precious were not always in line with the campaign. This soured her relationship with the Hollywood community. I consider her a friend. I have and will always think of her for parts that we can collaborate on, however the consensus among the creative teams and powers thus far were to go another way with these roles."