Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson School Mo'nique in the Hustle and Flow of Oscar Campaigning
Blame it perhaps on Oprah, who famously called Mo'nique after first seeing Precious and declared, "So what are you wearing to the Oscars, girl?" Or maybe it was another female figure from her more distant past, a strong-willed grandmother who sat a 7-year-old future superstar on her lap and instructed, "One day, they'll be expecting you to dance for your gold prize. Don't do it, Mo'mo. When that day come, you let them dance for you." Whatever the case, when it comes to the awards derby, Mo'nique is not having any of it. Absent from most of the early Precious campaigning and film festival premieres, the comedian and actress's first direct acknowledgment of the race came in the form of this pragmatic and much-quoted kiss-off:
"I couldn't eat that Oscar. Everybody needs money, baby. That's how we survive, right?"
Since then, she's softened her stance somewhat and submitted to the talk show circuit, but she seemed more preoccupied with hitting on the host (in the case of Craig Ferguson), or plugging her "dream come true" BET talk show (in the case of Oprah) than highlighting her devastating work as the Mongo-tossing Mrs. Jones.
Speaking of The Mo'nique Show, an episode that aired last month (but only recently surfaced in the Oscar blogodome) featured two friends and former Oscar-nominees -- Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson -- who schooled the stultifyingly, if refreshingly, game-illiterate host on what to expect in the months to come.
Here's some highlights, courtesy of And The Winner Is...:
Howard: "It is a campaign. You are the Obamas."
Henson: "It's like running for president."
Mo'Nique: "What are you campaigning for, though? That's what I need to understand."
Howard: "Well, a lot of people will not have seen your work, even if it's the most stellar of work...
Henson: "It's also really just about raising the awareness of who Mo'Nique is because, you know, we have our fans, and then there are so many people that still don't know, and we need them to know."
Mo'Nique: "We do need them to know. I guess that my feeling is just different in reference to this campaigning. I'm really trying to understand it... Because when they say 'campaign,' I'm like, 'Well, wait a minute. President Barack Obama had to campaign 'cuz he had something to prove: that he could do it. Well, the performance is on the screen! So at what point am I still trying to prove something?'"
Howard: "You say you finished!"
Mo'Nique: "I'm finished!" [...]
Howard: "You have to prove your artistic nature to everyone that's around you in order for them to be your supporters. Because your fans here aren't necessarily the members of the Academy. It's reaching that whole other group of people-"
Henson: "-that's not even aware of who Mo'Nique is, who haven't followed you throughout your career, you know? And you may not even care about them; you may just only care about your fans." [...]
Mo'Nique: "Now let me ask y'all this, because I know y'all are gonna school me correctly: What does it mean financially?
Once again, it all seems to boil down to tangible currency and/or delicious sandwiches for Mo'nique. Try as she might, she just can't seem to wrap her head around why it might behoove her to bite the bullet, paste on a smile, and parade around the campaign circuit for the next few months, despite the best efforts of savvier friends in the industry to break it down for her, in the most basic language and concepts possible. One day we'll all see the folly in losing our patience with her so quickly; until then, the awards-season-showboating developmental disorder known as Auscartism shall remain tragically undiscovered.
· MO'NIQUE GETS 'SCHOOLED' ABOUT OSCAR CAMPAIGNING [AndTheWinnerIs]