Mariah Carey Wins Acting Award (Yes, You Heard Us Correctly)

Becky Bain / November 23, 2009

No, you’re not in some alternative Bizarro universe where Newton’s laws don’t apply. Mariah Carey has been given an acting award—the folks at the Palm Springs Film Festival will honor Mariah with their Breakthrough Performance Award for (appearing in two scenes in) Precious. In retrospect, maybe we should have made Mariah Carey number five on our list of Pop Stars That Can Actually Act.

Past recipients of this award include other pop notables like Jennifer Hudson, who won the Palm Springs prize for her work in Dreamgirls before she went on to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Could the same thing happen to Mariah?

What’re you, nuts? Yes, Carey impressed us enough to keep her off our Top Pop Stars Who Should Never Act Again list; but this is the woman who is responsible for Glitter, the 2001 disaster in which (according to her best review) she was “present, but with no more presence than a mannequin.”

Festival chairman Harold Matzner explains his organization’s rationale:

“We’re delighted to be able to present the Breakthrough Performance Award to the extraordinary, very beautiful and versatile Mariah Carey, who, in a critically acclaimed role, completely transformed herself from a glamorous music icon to a forthright social worker for the role of Ms. Weiss in Precious.”

Apparently, taking off your makeup and throwing on an ugly wig means you’re a real actress. In any case, many critics have finally found nice things to say about Carey’s acting—the same EW reviewer who trashed Glitter writes that Carey in Precious exudes an “authentically deglammed compassion” while the Hollywood Reporter simply calls her “credible.” Not too bad for a former Razzie winner.

But, Palm Springs Film Fest folks, if we’re handing out Breakthrough Awards here, how about showing some love to Gabourey Sidibe, the 26-year old unknown actress who played Precious? Not only was she phenomenal in an incredibly demanding role—she had a helluva lot more to do than did Carey, who devotes virtually all of her screen time to sitting “authentically” behind a desk.