Monday, March 8, 2010
There will be two races tonight that will be absolute slam dunks, without a single doubt of who will win. One will be Up for best animated feature. And the other will be Mo'Nique for best supporting actress.
Which means, as many entertainment writers have pointed out in the last couple months, we have to start getting used to hearing the words "Oscar-winner Mo'Nique."
It's a phrase that's absolutely justified given her performance in Precious, which is one of the most searing, most nakedly unglamorous, most bold and most utterly true performances I have ever seen in my life. But that doesn't mean it's any less surprising for a person like me, who first became aware of Mo'Nique as the host of Showtime at the Apollo, the African-American Star Search-like talent show that came on after Saturday Night Live.
Of course, her origins as a broad-humored stand-up comedienne are not the only reason the phrase sounds unusual -- it's also that she's chosen to give herself a single-name moniker, which seems like it should disqualify her from the possibility of an Oscar nomination. Aren't Oscar nominations originally intended for stuffy British men, some of whom have the word "Sir" on the front of their names? Mo'Nique has come a long way from that starting point on Oscar's evolutionary chain.
But Mo'Nique is hardly the first in this category of unusual Oscar winners, and she will hardly be the last. Let's not forget that only a couple years ago, we became acquainted with the phrase "Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson." Jennifer Hudson doesn't have a funny name, but her origins are some of the strangest you would ever expect -- a person in her first acting role, after coming to prominence as a competitor on American Idol. And over 20 years ago now there was "Oscar-winner Cher," who does have that funny name, which she gave to herself in coming on the scene as a singer and variety show host. Then of course there's Queen Latifah, another person with a blatant stage name, who hasn't won, but has been nominated at least once.
So it made me wonder what kind of funny Oscar winners -- either by their names or their histories -- we may expect in the future. I'm really looking forward to the following:
Oscar-winner Lady Gaga
Oscar-winner Jennifer Love Hewitt
Oscar-winner Taylor Lautner
Oscar-winner Charles Barkley
Oscar-winner Rod Blagojevich
Oscar-winner Jenna Jameson
Oscar-winner Chad Ochocinco
Oscar-winner The Situation
Oscar-winner Danica Patrick
Oscar-winner Carrot Top
Please stay tuned to the 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2020, 2025, 2026, 2029, 2030, 2031, 2035 and 2046 Oscars, which will be held just in time for Carrot Top's 82nd birthday, for these luminaries of the screen to receive their long-overdue recognition.