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Talking to Sidibe now, it's clear her sense of self is fully in tact. That she knows who she is, and that she isn't interested in celebrity or awards or success changing that, is clear. "I'm already a set person, so I can only be myself now and take each day as it comes," she says.

For now, those days include the Precious press tour with her co-stars and director, the very people she says are largely responsible for her performance. "Mr. Daniels is very parental and protective of me, of all the actors, rather. That really put me at ease, because I was so scared," she says. As for her A-list co-stars like Mariah Carey, Patton, Mo'Nique and Lenny Kravitz? "They're all really awesome, talented people. Every day on set was a party."

Hard to imagine on a film as disturbing as this one. "We had to be upbeat because of the subject matter," Sidibe insists. "We had to love each other so much more."

Sidibe is counting on that positive energy to help deliver Precious' message of hope to the viewing public. "Precious, she gets hit by life so many different ways and so many times, but she doesn't yield to it. She continues to get up and she continues to struggle for a better life," she says.

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