December 25, 2006: “Dreamgirls” Premiered and Went On to Win Two Academy Awards

Photo: via Alamy

On December 25, 2006, “Dreamgirls” premiered in movie theaters. Starring Jennifer Hudson, Beyoncé, Anika Noni Rose, Jamie Foxx, and Eddie Murphy, the film went on to win three Golden Globes and two Academy Award. Set in the 1960s, it is loosely based on Motown girl trio, the Supremes. “Dreamgirls” follows three talented women as they navigate through the confines of a racist and patriarchal system to earn artistic success in their own right.

The 2006 film version of “Dreamgirls” had a lot to live up to when it premiered in movie theaters. In 1981, it was a smash Broadway hit that ran for four years and took home six Tony Awards. The play became a star-making vehicle for many of the performers, especially Jennifer Holliday. Her show-stopping performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” skyrocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1982. In addition, the cast recording won two Grammy Awards.

The film version of “Dream Girls” exceeded the expectations of critics and audiences alike. Beyoncé’s performance as Deena White, based on Diana Ross, showcased both her acting and singing prowess. Hudson, who plays Effie White, wowed audiences in her film debut.

In the film, the former “American Idol” contestant’s rendition of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” gave Holliday’s 1981 version a run for its money. Hudson took home the Best Supporting Actress award at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. The all-star cast was rounded out with Foxx as Curtis Taylor, Jr, a character based on Motown founder, Berry Gordy, Jr., and Murphy as the energetic and erratic James “Thunder” Early, inspired by Motown hitmakers James Brown, Jackie Wilson and Marvin Gaye.

Aside from an inspiring and, at times, heartbreaking story, the music makes the film. The album featured classic songs from the original Broadway musical, including “One Night Only” and “Fake Your Way To The Top.” Three new original songs were added to the film and album, “Listen,” “Love You I Do” and “Patience,” and all three songs were nominated for Best Original Song at the 2006 Academy Awards. “Love You I Do” won a Grammy for Best Song Written For A Motion Picture.

The story of “Dreamgirls” is an inspiring reminder of how far women have come in the music industry. As the three women struggle against a discriminatory system to get their talent recognized, they ultimately assert their self-worth and black pride.

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