Academy Award officials have ruled that Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, who signed on as executive producers of Precious after the movie was completed, are not eligible to receive Oscars should the picture win. The pair’s involvement has annoyed some movie industry insiders and well as some critics
Huge controversy surrounds the involvement of Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.” They signed on as executive producers after the film was shot, thus offering their celebrity status as support to help boost the profile of a movie with an important social message. Are they therefore entitled to win an Oscar statuette if “Precious” wins best picture? Official answer: no. “The rule is up to three producers get statuettes,” a studio rep tells Gold Derby. “The producers are Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness.”
The above-linked LA Times story points to this scathing review by black film critic Armond White. His final paragraph expresses why I’m uncomfortable with the film’s seemingly exploitive tone, which is why I haven’t seen it.
Worse than Precious itself was the ordeal of watching it with an audience full of patronizing white folk at the New York Film Festival, then enduring its media hoodwink as a credible depiction of black American life. A scene such as the hippopotamus-like teenager climbing a K-2 incline of tenement stairs to present her newborn, incest-bred baby to her unhinged virago matriarch, might have been met howls of skeptical laughter at Harlem’s Magic Johnson theater. Black audiences would surely have seen the comedy in this ludicrous, overloaded situation, whereas too many white film habitués casually enjoy it for the sense of superiority—and relief—it allows them to feel. Some people like being conned.