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> Mary talks to USA Today about her Oscar Noms
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Posted: Jan 23 2018, 04:01 PM
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Oscar, meet Mary.

"I just canít stop crying," said Mary J. Blige early Tuesday morning, holding back tears over the phone. The nine-time Grammy winner had just earned her first Oscar nomination, a best supporting actress nod for Mudbound, the Netflix tale that focuses on the post-World War II era in the Deep South.

Like many, she was asleep when the news came. "My phone rang at about 5:30 a.m. and it was my publicist, Amanda, and she was screaming. And I donít know what it is so Iím screaming and Iím crying! Itís just a really emotional time. Weíre not taking this lightly because things like this donít happen. And it did."

Blige earned a second nod for best original song, Mighty River. She is the first person ever to be nominated for a performance and original song in the same year, for the same film.

Mudbound's Rachel Morrison also made history as the first female cinematographer to be nominated in the awards show's history. "Wow! I didn't know," said Blige. adding that she "didnít hear Dee Reesí name (for best director), which was so upsetting to me."

Still, Rees is in the running for best adapted screenplay, and Blige's nomination is a watershed moment for Netflix, which has previously failed to crack major categories for its narrative films.

Taking on the streaming role of Florence Jackson, matriarch of a rural sharecropper family, "I really didnít think of it the way everyone else is thinking about it," she said. "I was just like, this is great, Netflix is great. Itís the way the majority of people watch movies today. I still go to the theater to see movies because itís fun, itís an event. But I also watch Netflix. I didn't think about it like, 'Wow, Netflix versus Paramount.' "

Today, Blige says she hopes the message of Mudbound, an unflinching look at prejudice, PTSD and friendships made across the color divide, permeates through the current divisive climate.

"What I hope that people take away is that no matter how bad or how awful things get or look or people treat us, we cannot give up on ourselves," she says. "And we have to continue to look at the negative as an opportunity to do something positive, to change something."

"Love is the answer. Love is the silver lining trough the whole movie. No matter how bad a person treats you or what they say about your color or your gender, don't let it destroy you. Know who you are and be who you are."

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