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

Nov 23rd, 2009 // 9 Comments

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.

  1. Paul

    I was initially put off by Carey being offered the role, as I figured she’d be a potential distraction. After seeing the film, however, I truly believe that her performance was first-rate. She came off as surprisingly authentic in her first two scenes, and quite possibly the most convincing of the three actresses in the the cathartic, tour-de-force finale. Her ten minutes alone were more powerful than any of Timberlake or Moore’s transparent roles, and certainly more interesting than Alanis on Weeds.

    I’m not familiar with the Palm Springs Film Festival, but according to its website, the past two recipients of the same award were Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Hudson, both of whom went on to win an Oscar a month later.

  2. angela

    i totally concu with the commentatorr. Mariah is really something… really.

  3. christofurr

    I don’t think Mariah’s totally underserving of this award, she pulled off her role extremely well. This is not the first time she’s given a good acting performance (search WiseGirls, which was largely overlooked as a result of the whole Glitter debarcle).

    I would like to see her tackle some meatier roles in the future though, just to be sure this whole thing isn’t a fluke. And for some reason I think she’d make a great character actress.

  4. DeMi

    Better Mariah than Mo’Nique !!!

  5. chantellejazz

    Y'all are just haters. Mariah was the best outta the thre and I'm just so glad that people are finally beginning to take notice of the genius inside this phenomenal woman. Not only is she a genius songwriter who's been writing/ co- writing fresh music for the past 20 years, she is also a great actor. You go girl- all us lambs are 100% behind you!

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