Gabourey Sidibe doesn't know what's coming. The star and title character of Precious, the film based on the novel Push by Sapphire, is a delightful and talented actress—and perhaps the first one to ever honestly eschew fame. "It's something I've never wanted," she says. "I didn't want to be an actress at all, or famous even. I certainly enjoy acting now, absolutely. Time will tell whether or not I enjoy fame."
Whether she enjoys it or not, fame is most certainly on the horizon. Sidibe (who goes by Gabby), delivers a raw and intensely emotional performance as Clareece "Precious" Jones, an overweight teenager who's beaten by her mother, Mary (played by Mo'Nique), and is carrying her father's baby. For a second time. Nothing has ever gone her way, until she enrolls in an alternative school under the tutelage of Ms. Rain (Paula Patton), a kind-hearted teacher who sees potential in Precious. Sidibe is on the best-actress short list when it comes to the 2010 Academy Awards®. In October, she was the cover girl for an issue of the New York Times Magazine. She walked away with the New Hollywood statue at this year's Hollywood Awards, largely considered the kickoff to awards season. The film, which was executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, has been surrounded by Oscar buzz since its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, where it was the first film ever to win both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize. Still, Sidibe isn't ready to call it a hit. "All the talk of awards is exciting and nerve-wracking," she says. "It feels a tad bit premature, but it certainly is something to be proud of."