Winning an Oscar isn’t the best after all — or at least according to Mo'Nique. The comedian-turned-Oscar winner told The Hollywood Reporter in honor of their issue celebrating the late Hattie McDaniel, who was the first African-American actor to win an Oscar for 1939’s Gone With the Wind, that she was “blackballed” by Hollywood after scoring her statue.
“How did the Oscar change my life? What it did was that it gave me a new reality,” Mo’Nique, who won Best Supporting Actress for her performance as a monstrous mother in 2009’s Precious, told THR. “And it let me know that an award wasn't going to change my life — that I had to be in control of changing my life.”
In fact, the actress said after she thanked the Academy during her acceptance speech in 2010 for “showing that it can be about the performance and not the politics,” producer Lee Daniels told her she had been “blackballed” by Hollywood as a result of not playing the “game."
“[Like] Hattie said, ‘After I won that award, it was as if I had done something wrong.’ It was the same with me,” Mo’Nique explained. “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. [But] 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.’ And I said, ‘Well, what game is that?’ And he gave me no response.”
To this day, the actress claims she still isn’t entirely sure what Daniels meant. “You know what I learned? Never to think what somebody else was thinking. [So] that's a question you would have to ask Lee Daniels,” she responded.
Mo’Nique said that following working with Daniels, she was offered roles in his latest projects, including The Butler, but that, “Each of those things that he offered me was taken off the table. They all just went away. But that's just part of the business, you know? I can't be upset at anybody, because life is too good. It's just what it is.”
Daniels, for his part, then 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.”