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When it comes to trailblazers in Hollywood, Lee Daniels is at the top of that list. He is the first openly gay African-American nominated for an Oscar, as best director for his film 'Precious.'
Lee first arrived in Los Angeles when he was twenty-one and worked at a nursing agency. Then, founded his own agency - which he eventually sold for a big profit. From there, Lee got into entertainment - first, as a casting director and later, as a manager.
Then, he started his own production company - 'Lee Daniels Entertainment.' And in 2001, it produced its first film: 'Monster's Ball.' Of course, Halle Berry won an Academy Award for her role in that film, and with it, Lee became the first solo African-American producer of an Oscar-earning film.
He followed that up by producing 'The Woodsman' with Kevin Bacon, and directing 'Shadowboxer' with Helen Mirren. Lee's latest film is 'Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire.' It's about an obese and illiterate teenager who's sexually abused by her father and brutalized by her mother. And it's up for six Academy Awards.