On February 29, 1940, Hattie McDaniel was awarded the best supporting actress Oscar for her performance in “Gone with the Wind” (1939), becoming the first black actor or actress to ever win an Academy Award. On March 7, 2010 (70 years and one week later), Mo’Nique was awarded the very same honor for her performance in “Precious” (2009). During Mo’Nique’s acceptance speech she said, “I would like to thank Miss Hattie McDaniel for enduring what she had to so that I would not have to.”
In a recent article in Parade magazine, “Precious” director Lee Daniels said that Mo’Nique is “obsessed” with playing McDaniel in a film about her life. Then, this week, Mo’Nique announced that she has formally optioned McDaniel’s life story, paving the way for a project in the near future.
Last night, Mo’Nique paid special tribute to McDaniel at the Oscars: she wore a royal blue gown and a flower in her hair because, she later told members of the press, McDaniel had done the same on the night she collected her Oscar. (You can see side-by-side photos of the women accepting their Oscars at the top of this post, and watch video of McDaniels’ acceptance speech by clicking here.)