Academy Award-winning actress and comedian Mo’Nique now believes that it was critically-acclaimed director Lee Daniels who “blackballed” her, including snatching away the role of Cookie in the monster hit “Empire” and giving it to Taraji P. Henson.
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Mo’Nique believes that Daniels, who directed her in the Oscar-winning role of the demented mother in Precious in 2009, was very upset that she didn’t mention his name during her acceptance speech. It is customary for winners to include the names of the directors, producers and studio heads when they accept the Oscar.
“People were saying, ‘Someone needs to teach Mo’Nique a lesson, because she’s not playing the game,’” she told ‘GMA.’ “And she’s gonna get in her own way of winning this award, because it seems like she’s choosing her family over Hollywood.”
Mo’Nique, 47, opted to spend her free time with her family instead of campaigning for her 2009 film “Precious.” She ended up winning the Academy Award anyway and says her behavior did not have an impact her Hollywood career.
“I don’t think that Hollywood has turned its nose up to me. I think that those are feelings that Mr. Daniels is having,” she said.
“He said, ‘You know, there were things that, Mo’Nique, she didn’t thank the producers and she didn’t thank the studio. And that’s just not things that you do,’” she recalls. “Well, it had nothing to do with the producers nor the studio. Mr. Daniels had a problem that I didn’t say his name the night of the Oscar awards.”
Mo’Nique said she willing to play the game, but it must be a fair one.
“I appreciate that comment, because he’s absolutely right. It is show business. A game does have to be played,” she responded. “But why can’t we play the fair game? If you’re asking, ‘Am I willing to put my integrity on the line for Hollywood?’ No.”
Mo’Nique assured her interviewer that, despite her reputation, she has more than been able to feed herself in the interim years between the Academy Awards of 2010 and the “Empire” role that was given to Henson. Among her current activities, Mo’Nique has a sold out comedy tour and her latest film Blackbird, which was produced by her and her husband, premieres in April
“Please, don’t feel bad or sorry for Mo’Nique, because Mo’Nique doesn’t feel bad or sorry for Mo’Nique,” she said with a laugh. “You would be wasting your energy.”
To see the ABC video interview in full, click here.