Film and TV

Mo'Nique owes part of her Oscar to "two white people from Colorado" -- Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness

Last night's Academy Awards ceremony offered big ups to some local filmmakers.

Boulder-based director Louie Psihoyos won Best Documentary Feature honors for his dolphin-killing exposé The Cove -- although producer Fisher Stevens used up all Psihoyos's spotlight time on the broadcast with thank-yous of his own. (The show's supervisors rigorously enforced a modest time limit for acceptance speeches ... except the really famous people.) And Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, produced by Denverites Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, which opened this year's Starz Denver Film Festival, earned two baubles: Best Adapted Screenplay for Geoffrey Fletcher and Best Supporting Actress for Mo'Nique's astonishing performance as the monster-mother of all time.

Unfortunately, Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness didn't get a chance to speak last night -- but they more than made up for it during Friday's Independent Spirit Awards, where Precious was named best feature -- and where Sarah winningly referenced their status as Colorado Caucasians.

After Prescious's win was announced -- by Ben Stiller, who read the names of nominees while two women and a man mimed porn moves in the background -- director Lee Daniels briefly took the microphone before handing it over to Siegel-Magness, who quickly addressed her paleness, and that of husband Gary, in comparison with other cast- and crew-members on the stage.

She said it might be strange to think that "two white people from Colorado" would be so passionate about bringing a story of an abused African-American teenager to the screen -- a confession that deservedly earned a big laugh from the mostly white audience. However, she went on, the people who'd put together Precious were the most talented with whom she'd ever had the privilege to work.

Clearly, Siegel-Magness hasn't let her skin color hold her back. Watch a clip of the acceptance speech at

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts