Mo’Nique Turned Down Oscars Return Because She Refused to Present for Free
Precious star Mo’Nique stayed away from the Oscars the year after she won a statuette, because Academy Awards bosses refused to pay for her and her entourage to fly to Hollywood. The comedienne-turned-actress claims she was “blackballed” in Hollywood for refusing to promote her hit 2009 movie, which earned her a Best Supporting Actress honor, when it was inconvenient to her and her manager husband.
And she risked incurring the wrath of Oscars bosses the year after she won when she decided not to show up if she wasn’t being properly compensated. “The year after I won my award, they asked me to come back and present,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “That was tradition. Well, I don’t live in California, I live in Georgia, so I said, ‘Sure, I’ll do that. I don’t have a problem with tradition.’ However, and it actually was my husband having the conversation: ‘You will have to fly Mo’Nique and her team out and you would have to pay for her team – for hair and makeup and wardrobe – because that’s a night where there’s a lot of picture-taking and it’s TV.’ And they said, ‘That’s not something that we do. We don’t fly anyone in and pay for anyone and put anyone up.’ And we said, ‘We understand. But that’s not something we do either. We don’t pay out money to come on your program. We understand tradition but it’s our tradition that we can’t do it for free. They said they understood and there were no hard feelings and we said maybe one day down the road we can do business.” But that’s not this year, as Mo’Nique has joined the ranks of those celebrities upset by the lack of African-Americans up for nominations. Unlike Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, who have announced they are boycotting the 2016 Academy Awards, the Precious star insists she simply won’t be watching. “Do I plan on boycotting?” she asked herself. “No. But I haven’t planned on watching it, because growing up as a little girl, I didn’t see people like me getting that award… When you say, ‘You won one’, what does that mean, that I should always watch the Oscars because I won one?”