Six Academy Award Nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress Gabourey Sidibe and Best Supporting Actress Mo’Nique
In casting Gabourey Sidibe for the title role of Precious, director Lee Daniels found a diamond in the rough. Her first film has already earned her ten awards including the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture. She has been nominated with sixteen others including Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Actress in a motion picture.
Gabourey makes her acting debut in Precious, but for this former psychology student, performing is in her blood. Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley supported her daughters by teaching special education and singing gospel. I’ve often seen her performing in the NYC subways as part of the MTA’s Music Under New York program. Huge crowds gather and several trains pass before some visitors will carry on. While my favorite renditions of hers are available on YouTube including “I Will Survive” and Alicia Key’s signature “Fallin”, but she’s also performed above ground and off-broadway in Goddessdance. Transcendental is the simplest word to describe her performance of the show’s ballad “Spread Your Wings.”
In spite of the heavy subject matter, the cast of Precious has been having a great time promoting the film. Gabourey has looked consistently stunning on the red carpet and head turningly ethereal on the cover of V Magazine. While Vanity Fair dropped the ball by not featuring this bodacious beauty on the cover of the its Young Hollywood issue, Ebony snapped her up and flip curls have never looked better.
Gabourey appeared as a dancing delight on the Ellen Degeneris Show (pre-choreographed by her roommate) as did Mo’Nique who talked about how scripts like this require you to leave work at work. Speaking of dancing though, did you see Mo’Nique and her fierce troupe of plus size backups dancing “Crazy in Love” at the 2004 BET Awards, much to the delight of Beyonce? Either way, click here to watch. After bringing down the house, she deservedly patted herself on the back and in the spirit of her achingly witty, fashion forward, big is beautiful love letter, the 2006 film Phat Girlz, Mo’Nique cheekily shouted “I know the skinny video girls, you all real nervous right now.” If anyone is gunning for the role of most joyful entertainer on stage, sorry, the position has been filled.
It took several views of the Precious trailer to recognize Mo’Nique as her character Mary Lee Johnston. Her transformation for Precious was reminiscent of Charlize Theron’s for Monster in 2003, but has since returned to her usual full on glamorous self, often by the hand of makeup master Sam Fine, seen below. Visit AmmoMag.com to read the interview with Sam.
If you’re rooting for Precious at your Oscars party this Sunday, you’ll love this look picked out by MyFashionPlate.com stylist Sara Mitzner. Sara recommends this gold houndstooth dress available on BlueFly.com. “The movie Precious was set in 1987 in Harlem, New York so I chose a Corey Lynn Carter dress that had a bold print with a kicked up 80’s vibe, though the classic wrap style keeps it sophisticated.” She also notes the bright yellow hue which is frequently noted as Precious’s favorite color.
Hair would look great with flip curls like Gabourey’s or pulled back in a bun like Mo’Nique’s. Either way, flaunt this fun headband by Ban.do! “Precious is a true 80s fashionista who always matches her headband to her look.”
Dressed flawlessly, you’ll need the perfect makeup look. I’m a huge fan of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancers (especially for women of color) which I used many times on Kerry Washington. Applied with a sponge, they deliver beautiful coverage applied just under the eyes or even all over. Illamasqua also has an amazing selection of cream foundations in the darker range. To warm your skin, reach for one of the bronzers from the CoverGirl Queen Collection Bronzer in Ebony Bronze and in honor of New York Native Sidibe, proudly wear a Herald Square mineral blush by DEX or one of the other shades, all named after Manhattan neighborhoods.
Wash a gold shadow over the whole lid and use a liner brush to trace the Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Liner in Midnight Black going past your lash line and slightly upwards. Add a pair of Shu Uemura Lashes in S 217 and finish the look with Lancome’s Le Rouge Absolue in Merlot.
Ten films are nominated this year for Best Picture this year, and the cast of Precious already has much to celebrate, but will they walk away with Oscars gold? Whatever the outcome, their brave performances are worthy of all the praise they receive and with their incredible spirits, we can at least be certain big girls won’t cry.
Writing about the glamour and comedic talent of Gabourey and Mo’Nique feels a bit like it’s undermining the serious work they’ve done in this film. However, the films speaks for itself and says it better than any reviewer could. Hopefully, Gabourey agrees the sillier topics are worth writing about too. As she told New York Magazine, “They try to paint the picture that I was this downtrodden, ugly girl who was unpopular in school and in life, and then I got this role and now I’m awesome. But the truth is that I’ve been awesome, and then I got this role.”
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ntact Sarah Mitzner on MyFashionPlate.com.
Andrew Sotomayor is a celebrity makeup artist in New York who’s worked with Juliette Binoche, Kerry Washington, Saffron Burrows, Rose Byrne, Justin Kirk, Jonathan Groff and champion boxer Andre Berto. His clients have appeared on Project Runway, The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Good Day New York, and CNN. He’s created the makeup for Victoria Beckham’s denim and eyewear look books, and assisted on fashion shows for Dior, Diesel, Marchesa, and Project Runway. Magazines like Marie Claire, Shape, InStyle, Glamour, People, and numerous blogs have interviewed him, and he’s appeared on television for Access Hollywood. Andrew leads makeup artistry workshops for the students at The High School of Fashion Industries. See his work at DramaFreeMakeup.com