Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,or simply Precious, is a 2009 American drama film, directed and co-produced by Lee Daniels. The script was written by Geoffrey S. Fletcher, adapted from the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire. The film stars Gabourey Sidibe, Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, and Mariah Carey. This film marked the acting debut of Sidibe who portrays a young woman struggling against poverty and abuse.
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. 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. After Precious’ screening at Sundance in January 2009, Tyler Perry announced that he and Oprah Winfrey would be providing promotional assistance to the film, which was released through Lionsgate 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. Precious was also an official selection at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival (particularly the un certain regard section).
Lionsgate gave the film a limited release in North America on November 6, 2009, with an expanded release on November 20. Precious received largely positive reviews from critics; the performances of Sidibe and Mo’Nique, the story, and its message were highly praised. The film was a box office success, earning over $63 million on a $10 million budget.
Precious received six nominations at the 82nd Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Daniels, and Best Actress for Sidibe. Mo’Nique won the award for Best Supporting Actress, while Geoffrey Fletcher won for Best Adapted Screenplay, becoming the first African-American to win a screenplay award at the Oscars.