As a dedicated Howard Stern show listener and someone who thinks most Oprah Winfrey-supported movies are pandering and formulaic, I was very surprised to find myself, just yesterday, rooting for Gabourey Sidibe to have a long, successful career.

I understand and agree with Howard's concern over the potential health concerns tied to her weight. But some people can handle extra pounds -- or smoking cigars everyday -- and live long lives. And if she's one of them, more power to her.

Besides, there are great actors in all shapes and sizes; you can enjoy their performances without thinking of their personal lives. It's good to see someone not off a plastic surgery conveyor belt join the party.

I had stayed away from watching 'Precious' because, despite universal praise, I'd heard it was pretty much the most depressing movie since Bjork's 'Dancer In The Dark.' Hearing Howard talk about the performance actually got me to check it out, and I was struck by how much charisma Gabourey brought to the role. Any thoughts of the controversy, or her being a first-time actress -- in fact, any thoughts outside of the movie period -- vanished right away.

This is a very sad movie, and I'm glad it didn't have a typical Hollywood ending, such as her winning the lottery or getting magically cured. That meant that any of the small victories the character earned had to be given all their emotional weight (pardon the pun) by Ms. Sibide's performance, and she delivered wonderfully. I guess you could say it's easy to portray the hurt and anger Precious goes through, but during the upbeat scenes, the natural power of her laughter and the way she clearly commanded the room show that there is something special about Gabourey.

What really sealed the deal, though, was Gabourey's recent appearance on the talk show clip show 'The Soup,' where she displayed impeccable comic timing as she silently "confirmed" -- with just a sly smile and a fist pound -- a one-night stand with Hollywood leading man Gerard Butler. As she walked off-camera, confidently flashing a peace sign, the message was clear: "I intend to be around a while."

When Gabby Met Gerard Butler on the Oscar Red Carpet


Her next movie is called "Yelling To The Sky," in which I hear she plays an unsympathetic bully. Hopefully that's another subtle, confident and non-typical performance. I intend to watch that faster than I watched her 'Precious,' and I don't care how much she weighs in that movie, either.