A Malibu restaurant was the setting for Women In Film’s (WIF) Black History Month champagne breakfast with actress Gabourey Sidibe on Friday. WIF, a powerful Los Angeles-based organization for women in front and behind the scenes in entertainment, invited Gabourey to the very relaxed event to share her thoughts on her burgeoning acting career.
“To tell the story short, I didn’t know I was going (to an audition for ‘Precious’),” said Gabourey Sidibe at the WIF breakfast. “I showed up at an audition on a Monday, was hired on Wednesday, we started shooting three weeks later, and a year and a half later I was nominated for an Oscar (for Best Actress).”
Gabourey set the cinematic scene on fire in the title role of the 2009 film “Precious.” Directed by Lee Daniels, the film is about a New York teen struggling with illiteracy, unspeakable sexual abuse, pregnancy, and her dignity. Gabourey, who was in college at the time, landed the much ballyhooed role without any professional experience. She said that she had a responsibility to African Americans with “Precious.”
“I’ve paid very close attention to films like “The Color Purple,” “Roots,” and things like that with these strong, strong performances by these amazing black women and black men,” she said to the lively audience. “And moving forward with my career I just really wanted to be like them. I wanted to take on this role, that was really, really hard and is considered to be the bottom of society, and I wanted to do it with pride the way Whoopi Goldberg took on Celie with pride in “The Color Purple”
Gabourey definitely feels pride with the slate of recent films focusing on African Americans but admits she’s concerned about the Oscar nominating process.
“The fact that we had so many black films out (last) year, highbrow like “Fruitvale Station,” “The Butler” and “12 years a Slave,” I think that’s wonderful and it shows that we are worthy of having our stories told.” she said. “And I hope that next year is the same. And I hope that every year after there’s going to be a fight of which one we nominate. But we can only nominate one which is annoying. There was article that said it would be the blackest Oscars and it’s not (because “Fruitvale Station” and “The Butler” were not nominated).”
Meanwhile, Gabourey Sidibe keeps making films. She just finished“White Bird in a Blizzard,” an independent film recently shown at the Sundance Film Festival and is working on two more. She also shows off her acting chops on television. She was recently seen on the critically acclaimed television shows FX’s “American Horror Story: Coven” and Showtime’s “Big C.”
For more on Gabourey, go to her Twitter: @GabbySidibe. For more information on Women In Film, check out http://www.wif.org.