Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, often shortened as Precious, is a 2009 American drama film directed by Lee Daniels. Precious is an adaptation by Geoffrey S. Fletcher of the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire. The film stars Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, and Mariah Carey. The film marked the acting debut of Sidibe.
The film, then without a distributor, premiered to acclaim at both the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, under its original title of Push: Based on the Novel by Sapphire.[2] At Sundance, it won the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize for best drama, as well as a Special Jury Prize for supporting actress Mo’Nique.[3] After Precious’ screening at Sundance in February 2009, Tyler Perry announced that he and Oprah Winfrey would be providing promotional assistance to the film, which was released through Lions Gate Entertainment. Precious won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. The film’s title was changed from Push to Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, to avoid confusion with the 2009 action film Push.[4] Precious was also an official selection at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival (particularly the Un Certain Regard category).
Lionsgate gave the film a limited release in North America on November 6, 2009 (the release was expanded on November 20). Precious received largely positive reviews from critics: the acting, the story, and its message were generally praised. Some criticism mainly aimed at fears of the film’s content sending a negative message; some reviewers felt that the film did not live up to its hype. In the film’s opening weekend in limited release, it grossed $1.8 million, putting it in 12th place at the box office. As of February 2010, the film had grossed over $47 million domestically, ranking no. 65 for 2009, recouping its $10 million budget, and making it a box office success.[1] Precious received six nominations, including Best Picture, for the 82nd Academy Awards. Supporting actress Mo’Nique and screenwriter Geoffrey S. Fletcher were selected as the winners in their respective categories.

Directed by Lee Daniels
Produced by Lee Daniels
Gary Magness
Sarah Siegel-Magness
Oprah Winfrey
Tom Heller
Tyler Perry
Screenplay by Geoffrey S. Fletcher
Based on Push by Sapphire
Starring Gabourey Sidibe
Mo’Nique
Paula Patton
Mariah Carey
Lenny Kravitz
Sherri Shepherd
Music by Mario Grigorov
Cinematography
Andrew Dunn
Darren Lew
Editing by Joe Klotz
Studio Lee Daniels Entertainment
Smokewood Entertainment Group
Distributed by Lionsgate (USA)
Icon Productions (UK)
PlayArte Films (Brazil)
Midget Entertainment (Denmark)
Applause Entertainment (Taiwan)
A-Film Distribution (Netherlands)
Release date(s) January 15, 2009 (Sundance)
November 6, 2009 (United States)
Running time 110 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $10 million[1]
Gross revenue $62,881,147[1

In 1987, obese, illiterate, 16-year-old Claireece P. “Precious” Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) lives in the New York City ghetto of Harlem with her dysfunctional and abusive mother, Mary (Mo’Nique). She has been impregnated twice by her father, Carl, and suffers long-term physical, sexual, and mental abuse from her unemployed mother. The family resides in a Section 8 tenement and subsists on welfare. Her first child, known as “Mongo”, which is short for Mongoloid, has Down syndrome and is being cared for by Precious’ grandmother, though Mary forces the family to pretend Mongo lives with her and Precious so she can receive extra money from the government.

Following the discovery of Precious’ second pregnancy, she is suspended from school. Her junior high school principal arranges to have her attend an alternative school, which she hopes can help Precious change her life’s direction. Precious finds a way out of her traumatic daily existence through imagination and fantasy. In her mind, there is another world where she is loved and appreciated.
Inspired by her new teacher, Blu Rain (Paula Patton), Precious begins learning to read. Precious meets sporadically with a social worker named Miss Weiss (Mariah Carey), who learns about incest in the household when Precious unwittingly conveys it to her. Precious gives birth to her second child and names him Abdul. While at the hospital, she meets John McFadden (Lenny Kravitz), a nursing assistant who shows kindness to her. After Mary (her mother) deliberately drops three-day-old Abdul and hits Precious, Precious fights back long enough to get her son and flees her home permanently. Shortly after leaving the house, Precious stops at a window of a church and watches the choir inside sing a Christmas song. She begins to imagine herself and her dream boyfriend singing a more upbeat version of the Christmas song. Later on, Precious breaks into her school classroom to get out of the cold and is discovered the following morning by Miss Rain. The teacher finds assistance for Precious, who begins raising her son in a halfway house while she continues academically.

Her mother comes back into her life to inform Precious that her father has died of AIDS. Later, Precious learns that she is HIV positive, but Abdul is not. Feeling dejected, Precious meets Miss Weiss at her office and steals her case file. Precious recounts the details of the file to her fellow students and has a new lease on life. Mary and Precious see each other for the last time in Miss Weiss’ office, where Weiss questions Mary about her abuse of Precious, and uncovers specific physical and sexual traumas Precious encountered, starting when she was three. Mary begs Miss Weiss to help get Precious back, but she refuses upon finding out how much Precious was going through. The film ends with Precious still resolved to improve her life for herself and her children. She severs ties with her mother and plans to complete a General Educational Development (GED) test to receive a high school diploma equivalent.

Production

Precious was directed by Lee Daniels and co-produced by Daniels’ company, Lee Daniels Entertainment, and the Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness-owned Smokewood Entertainment Group.[15] The two production companies had previously collaborated with Daniels on Tennessee (2008).[15] Precious had, in total, twelve producers: Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Heller, Tyler Perry, Lisa Cortes, Gary Magness, Valerie Hoffman, Asger Hussain, Mark G. Magges, Berrgen Swason, Simone Sheffield and Sarah Siegel-Magness.[16] In September, 2007, Carey confirmed that the film’s writer, Barsocchini, was still working on the script, which was in its early stages.[7] Principal photography (filming) for the film took place on location in various parts of New York City.[17] The production budget was $10 million.[1]
After Precious was screened at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in January, it was picked up for distribution by Lions Gate Entertainment and received promotional assistance from Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and Tyler Perry’s 34th Street Films.[18] Precious was the first theatrical film to be affiliated with Perry’s company.[19] In February 2009, Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company filed lawsuits contesting ownership of the rights to release Precious.[20] Both companies claim that they had purchased distribution rights to Precious: The Weinstein Company claimed that they had “secured” their rights while Lionsgate stated that they owned the rights to the film’s distribution in North America.[20] Precious’ sales agent Cinetic Media denied Weinstein’s claims, stating that they failed to finalize the deal.[20]
Music

Main article: Precious (soundtrack)
Composer Robin Thicke wrote and produced “Push”, the film’s original main theme music.[21] Later announcements confirmed that the song would be replaced by Mary J. Blige’s “I Can See In Color”.[22] Leona Lewis’ song, “Happy” (from her album Echo) is featured in the film’s trailer.[23] Daniels stated that the artists featured on the film’s soundtrack were selected because they “resonate not only in Precious’s world, but speak to your soul no matter who you are”.[24] Two other songs, performed decades earlier by Queen Latifah and Mahalia Jackson, were also chosen for the film’s soundtrack.[24] The soundtrack features LaBelle (Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash, and Patti LaBelle), Donna Allen, Jean Carn, Sunny Gale, and MFSB.[22]
Lionsgate, in association with Matriarch/Geffen Records released the soundtrack online as a digital download on November 3, 2009,[25] and in stores on November 23.[22][24] Daniels confirmed that there are plans to release Blige’s “I Can See in Color” as a single from the soundtrack.[24] The song was written by Blige, Raphael Saadiq and LaNeah Menzies and is produced by Raphael Saadiq.[25] People Magazine Daily noted that the film “mainly had a music supervised soundtrack, but not much of a score, so there were popular songs placed in the movie.”[26] Peter Travers, of Rolling Stone, described the song “I Can See In Color” as being “…a knockout song…expressing the goal of Precious to see the world in color.”

Awards and nominations
Further information: List of accolades received by Precious
Precious has received dozens of nominations in award categories ranging from the performance of the cast to the direction to the cinematography to the adaptation of the book into the screenplay to the film itself including six Academy Award nominations. Director Lee Daniels won the People’s Choice Award, an award given by audience members at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.[60] Daniels won both awards for which he was nominated at the San Sebastián International Film Festival—the TVE Otra Mirada Award and the Audience Award. He was nominated in the category of Bronze Horse at the Stockholm Film Festival,[3] and was the recipient for Best Feature Film from the Hawaii International Film Festival.[3] Precious received five awards at the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards (ISA) in the categories for best film, first screenplay, direction, Actress and Supporting Actress.[61] Precious received nominations from the 67th Annual Golden Globes for the film and for the performances of Mo’Nique and Sidibe;[62] Mo’Nique won Best Supporting Actress. Precious was nominated in all three major categories at the 2009 Screen Actor Guild Awards; best cast, best actress, and best supporting actress; Mo’Nique won.[63] Precious was considered for the BAFTA awards in several categories, including Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Leading Actress (Gabourey Sidibe), Supporting Actress (Mo’Nique).[64] On February 2, 2010, the film received Academy Award nominations at the 82nd Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Actress (Sidibe), Best Supporting Actress (Mo’Nique), Best Director (Daniels), Best Adapted Screenplay (Fletcher) and Best Film Editing (Klotz). On March 7, 2010, Mo’Nique (Best Supporting Actress) and Fletcher (Best Adapted Screenplay) won their respective Academy Awards. The film was also nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Film – Wide Release” during the 21st GLAAD Media Awards.

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