"Precious" Nabs Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival

Lee Daniels's Precious, produced by Oprah Winfrey and based on the novel Push by Sapphire, took home the top prize over the weekend at the Toronto Film Festival. The coveted audience award at the festival is a traditionally seen as a predictor for Oscar contenders. Last year's audience award winner was a little film called Slumdog Millionaire.

Precious tells the story of an obese teenager trying to make her way in 1980's Harlem. She's horribly abused by her mother and is pregnant by her father for the second time when the film begins. Precious has received accolades since its debut, winning both the jury and audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

The film features star turns by Mo'Nique as Mary, Precious's abusive mother, and Mariah Carey as Mrs. Weiss, a welfare case worker who is touched by the teen's tough lot in life. Director Lee Daniels said previously that the story was so intense that he couldn’t afford to cast stars whose celebrity looms larger than their talent. So how did Carey wind up in the film? "We'd just finished working together in a film. It’s called Tennessee, by a Canadian director Aaron Woodley, a little tiny movie and she starred in it for me," says Daniels, "We became really good friends and I knew that she had the chops.”

The film is set for limited release in the U.S. on November 6, 2009. Tell us: Are you planning on seeing Precious?