Gabourey Sidibe was a student pursuing a degree in psychology when she was cast as the lead role “Precious” in Lee Daniels’s film Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire.

For her role as “Precious,” Sidibe received an Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nomination for Best Actress. Sidibe was awarded both The Film Independent “Independent Spirit Award” and the NAACP Image Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. She also garnered Best Actress nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, Broadcast Film Critics, and British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The National Board of Review awarded her with the Breakthrough Performance Award and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival honored Sidibe with the Vanguard Award for “taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film.”

About her breakthrough performance, renowned film critic Roger Ebert stated, “The film is a tribute to Sidibe’s ability to engage our empathy. Her work is still another demonstration of the mystery of some actors, who evoke feelings in ways beyond words and techniques. She so completely creates the Precious character that you rather wonder if she’s very much like her. You meet Sidibe, who is engaging, outgoing and 10 years older than her character, and you’re almost startled. She’s not at all like Precious, but in her first performance, she not only understands this character but knows how to make her attract the sympathy of her teacher, the social worker — and ourselves. I don’t know how she does it but there you are.”

Sidibe can currently be seen on the fourth season of the Golden Globe nominated Showtime comedic series The Big C opposite Laura Linney. For her role as “Andrea” Sidibe was nominated for an NAACP Image Award.

Sidibe starred in Universal’s action-comedy film Tower Heist opposite Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy for director Brett Ratner. She also made a standout cameo appearance in Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths. She was last seen in Victoria Mahoney’s independent film Yelling to the Sky which premiered at Berlinale Film Festival.

Sidibe recently wrapped Gregg Araki’s White Bird in a Blizzard opposite Shailene Woodley as well as the independent dark comedy Gravy opposite Sarah Silverman directed by James Roday. In 2010 Sidibe had the distinct honor of hosting Saturday Night Live.