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Mo'Nique's Oscar gown had special meaning

March 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Best supporting actress winner Mo'Nique, who paid tribute in her onstage acceptance speech to the first black performer to win an Oscar, said backstage that her attire was also chosen in tribute to Hattie McDaniel. "I am a standup comedian who has won an Oscar," said actress Mo'Nique.

Mo'Nique is proud to call herself a comedian, she's also proud to honor those who've come before her. And at Sunday night's Oscar ceremony, it was actress Hattie McDaniel, the first African American woman to win the award.

"I'm wearing a royal blue dress because that is the color of dress Hattie McDaniel wore when she accepted her Oscar," said Mo'Nique, who was honored for her role as an abusive mother in "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."

"I have a gardenia in my hair because that's what Hattie McDaniel had in her hair when she accepted her Oscar," she added.

McDaniel, who died in 1952, won the best supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of the sassy servant Mammy in the 1939 film "Gone with the Wind."

"Hattie McDaniel, I feel you all over me," Mo'Nique said backstage Sunday night. "It's about time the world feels you all over them."

Mo'Nique also got serious when addressing criticism she's received for tackling the Oscar season in her own way.

"Through this journey and process -- and I'm sure some of you are sitting in this room right now -- some reporters wrote, 'Someone needs to teach Mo'Nique a lesson. Someone needs to tell her how this game is played,'" said Mo'Nique. "And I am very proud to be part of an Academy that says, 'We will not play that game. We will judge her on her performance and not on how many dinners she attended and how many pictures she took. It's on the screen.'"