What's Gabourey Sidibe's Future in Hollywood?

Precious star Gabourey Sidibe is 26 years old, with a hit movie and a major Oscar nomination on her resume. Her career is off to a fantastic start. Or is it?

Now that the Precious buzz has peaked, the media is asking that harsh but inevitable question: Does an overweight woman like Gabby Sidibe have a future in Hollywood? Howard Stern opened the floodgates last week, when he cruelly ranted that Sidibe's career was over because "an enormous woman the size of a planet" would never land another role. Since then, it seems everyone has decided to (no pun intended) weigh in, with some defending Sidibe, others siding with Stern's brutal assessment , and a precious few taking an even-handed look at the actress's prospects.

Mostly, the speculation about Sidibe's career prospects seem to fall into two categories:

1. The Jennifer Hudson Theory. Hudson, 28, has more than a few similarities to Sidibe: The American Idol star (and Grammy-winning singer) made a smash debut in her first film, 2006's Dreamgirls. While Sidibe lost the Oscar race, Hudson won Best Supporting Actress for her stunning musical performance... and quickly began to fade off the radar. Her most successful post-Dreamgirls film was Sex and the City, in which her role as Carrie's assistant was small at best. Now, Hudson has finally landed another starring role -- after losing 60 pounds. She looks as beautiful as ever, but cynics say that the moral of the story is clear: There are no good parts in Hollywood for an overweight woman. Meanwhile, optimists point to...

2. The Oprah Theory. Like Oprah Winfrey, Sidibe is charismatic, smart, strong-willed and seems to delight in defying expectations. Both the talk-show legend and the young actress seem down-to-earth -- "relatability" being a hot commodity these days, especially in TV. Oprah has forged her own career path where none existed for her, and Sidibe may need to do the same thing. Since there are few good parts for women who look like her, she'll have to create them. It won't be easy, but for a talented woman of size determined to be more than a pretty package -- Whoopi Goldberg and Queen Latifah are other examples being batted around -- it's not impossible.

For now, the future looks rosy for Sidibe, who is still working. The actress has another indie film, Yelling to the Sky, coming to theaters this year, and she's joined the cast of Laura Linney's new Showtime drama The Big C. We'd love to see Sidibe show off that funny, fearless personality in a romantic comedy, or work that Precious intensity on a TV drama (does Law and Order need any new cops?). If she succeeds in Hollywood, it will be a victory -- and if she does it without succumbing to weight-loss pressures, it will be a miracle.

Plus: Watch Gabourey Hit On Gerard Butler!

Do you think Gabourey Sidibe needs to slim down to make it in Hollywood? Chime in below!

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