Are you still mad that Jennifer Lopez was denied her much-deserved Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her stalwart turn in Hustlers? We certainly are. It was easily one of the best film performances of 2019 and a new high for J.Lo’s acting career, a deftly drawn portrait of a seductive force fighting against the cruel forces of sexism, racism, and classism. All that and she did the best pole dance to Fiona Apple that humanity has ever witnessed. So, of course the Academy overlooked her. In hindsight, it feels like they were always going to do this, but you can’t blame us for being pissed off at it. After all, Lopez had landed all the precursor nominations that are typically indicative of Oscar success. She campaigned hard for it, she had a lot of love in the industry behind her, Hustlers was a critical and commercial darling, and there was room in the category for her. Can you blame us for feeling like her nomination was all but guaranteed?
Even Lopez herself, it seems, was sure of it. While speaking to Oprah Winfrey during her 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus Tour, Lopez got candid about the snub:
‘I was sad, I was a little sad because there was a lot of buildup to it. There were so many articles, I got so many good notices — more than ever in my career — and there was a lot of: “She’s going to get nominated for an Oscar, it’s going to happen, if it doesn’t you’re crazy.” I’m reading all the articles going: “Oh my god, could this happen?” And then it didn’t and I was like: “Ouch,” it was a little bit of a letdown.
Also I felt like my whole team — most of my team has been with me for years, 20, 25 years — and I think they had a lot of hopes on that and they wanted it too, so I felt like I let everyone down a little bit.’
I respect Lopez for admitting that the snub hurt. Oscar campaigning is a weird beast of contradictions. You have to actively work your butt off for it because to seem cool about the entire process or anything less than actively enthusiastic is read as ‘arrogant’ or ‘ungrateful.’ Yet you’re not supposed to just admit out loud that you want to win because that’s still too ‘arrogant.’ You need to cloak it in that ‘it’s just an honor to be nominated’ crap that nobody believes, then, when all those months of work don’t pay off come nomination morning, you can’t say out loud how much it sucked to be ignored when you and countless others felt like you’d earned and deserved it.
Lopez already had a tricky uphill climb pandering to the Academy. She’s a wildly famous entertainer but one who many snobs don’t see as a ‘real actress.’ She’s a Latina woman who’s done a whole lot of critical flops and was perceived as not being ‘an Oscar type’, while Hustlers, despite those glowing reviews, was written off as not being an awards season movie despite it totally being one. The film with a majority women of color cast directed by a woman that tells a story of class warfare and sex workers is just too much for the old white dudes.
Truly, though, Lopez has nothing to prove to anyone, but especially these snobs. The Oscars needed her more than she needed them.
Header Image Source: YouTube // STXfilms