Leading in Oscar nominations, the film Dreamgirls is based on the classic Broadway production of the same title. Acclaimed filmmaker Bill Condon has created an impressive musical with a stellar cast, great visuals and soulful sound.
Swaying, shimmying and strutting, the Dreamettes make a splash on the large screen. Now, a month since the film's premiere, Dreamgirls has scored eight Oscar nominations.
The glitzy saga is loosely based on the real-life story of Motown's Supremes and their lead singer Diana Ross. It tells a rags-to-riches story of the trio that rose to international fame in the 1960s and '70s.
Anika Noni Rose plays Lorell Robinson, the youngest and bubbliest of the Dreamettes. She says Dreamgirls is a pretty universal story. "It is about the struggle to make it and the stuff that one has to go through and corners that one has to cut."
R&B singer Beyonce Knowles plays Deena, the star of the group. And up-and-coming singer and actress Jennifer Hudson plays Effie, the most soulful and outspoken of the three.
Although Effie does not want to be a back up singer, she finally gives in, and her music group starts its climb to success behind singer Jimmy Early.
Veteran comedic actor Eddie Murphy has received an Oscar nomination for his powerhouse performance as the sleek and talented but deeply frustrated Jimmy Early, whose raucous blend of rock and soul proves too intense for the American mainstream. As Jimmy's career fades, the Dreamettes gain the spotlight.
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Bill Condon says success comes at a high price.
"In Dreamgirls, each character faces a moment when they have to decide what will they do to achieve what they want," he says. "Some people decide it's not worth it. Some people aren't given a choice."
It finally costs Effie and Deena their friendship. Both want to be lead singers. And they are both in love with the same man, their manager, the ruthless car salesman Curtis Taylor Junior. He is played by Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx. Curtis is determined to break into the music industry. He finally picks the beautiful and pliable Deena over the more talented Effie.
Just two years after judges on the popular reality show "American Idol" showed her the door, Jennifer Hudson is making headlines. In her first film role ever, she delivers such a powerful performance that she upstages all her famous co-stars.
"Effie's story," says Hudson, "is similar to my story. We kind of had the same path, maybe not as dramatic or drastic as hers. But it is very similar, and I felt nobody can tell her story better than I."
Although the movie did not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, Jennifer Hudson is many critics' choice for best supporting actress. The film has also received two Oscar nominations for best original song, one sung by Hudson and the other by Beyonce Knowles. Oscar night will be an interesting
one on Sunday, February 25th.