Why Is Jennifer Hudson Portraying Winnie Mandela?

Maybe when I got up to visit the bathroom during Jennifer Hudson’s big Oscar-winning Dreamgirls diva moment, I missed some breakthrough. But seriously, giving her an Oscar for assaying a role that any soul singer signed on for the same role could’ve sleepwalked through was a bit premature, and could lead to complications like this — complications wherein Hudson gets roped into playing Nelson Mandela’s wife in Winnie, which begins filming May 2010. Is such a role too much too soon for the still-green thesp?

Perhaps there’s some golden unwritten rule that’s supposed to bar us from snubbing J.Huds. She’s a perfectly lovely celebrity (an anomaly, given the species!), a very talented vocalist, and is so marred by tragedy. But there’s still the fact that her filmic body of work doesn’t really put her ahead of more seasoned veterans who could be blindly trusted to handle the gravity of such a controversial and politically charged character. A little reason in this madness otherwise: Hudson will also be belting out the film’s theme tune.

Essentially, Winnie is the stuff that Oscar gold is made of. Hudson’s pulling double duty and another Oscar-friendly guy is directing the affair and it’s a “politically-charged biopic” — a subgenre that always makes voters swoon. But like all Oscar bait, it may end up no more memorable than Hudson’s last go-around on the big screen.

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