Release date: Nov. 6

Distrib: Lionsgate

Oscar voters love star power, movies that take chances, performers who step out of their safety zones and newcomers with Cinderella stories. Improbably, “Precious” has it all: Armed with the imprimatur of late-inning exec producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry — not to mention its $100,000-per-screen opening weekend — the gritty urban drama could be poised to launch comedienne-cum-tragedienne Mo’Nique to a nomination, along with her tyro co-star Gabourey Sidibe, who plays the title character. A glam-free Mariah Carey as Precious’ counselor could be in the mix, too. Wrangling all this diva power should add to producer-cum-helmer Lee Daniels’ director cred.

The screenplay, wrought from Sapphire’s novel about an obese, illiterate, pregnant and seemingly hopeless 16-year-old, seems to define creative adaptation, which could translate into a nom for fledgling scripter Geoffrey Fletcher.

Despite its difficult content, “juggernaut” seems the word that best describes “Precious.” It won both the audience and dramatic prizes at the Sundance Film Festival and gathered several more kudos on the fest circuit thereafter. Add that to the promise inherent in the pic’s boffo opening numbers and “Precious” could potentially go on to gather lots of precious metal — as in Oscar gold.

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