We all know Jennifer Lopez as a singer, dancer, actor, producer, competition show judge, global icon ... the list goes on. And if the early reviews of her performance in "Hustlers" are any indication, we might soon come to know her as a potential Oscar contender.
Lopez, 50, recently joined Hoda Kotb on SiriusXM to discuss the critical praise the multi-hyphenate entertainer has received for her performance in "Hustlers," which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 7. Lopez's portrayal of Ramona, the ringleader of a team of New York strippers who con Wall Street patrons in order to survive the Great Recession, has generated Oscar nomination buzz from the likes of The Hollywood Reporter, People and the Daily Beast.
Lopez, who also co-produced the film, shared with Kotb that she became emotional when she first heard about the positive reviews, which she read while sitting in bed the morning after the premiere.
"I've just been working hard for so long — for my whole life — so it's nice," she told Kotb. "You work hard your whole life, and you wonder if anybody notices."
While this would be her first Oscar nomination, Lopez was up for a Golden Globe for her performance in her 1997 breakout role as the titular character in "Selena." That said, the actor told Kotb the recent buzz reminded her of dreams as a little girl of being on the Academy Awards stage some day.
"We're not even there!" Lopez added. "Just to talk about it is amazing."
"Hustlers," based off a 2015 New York Magazine article by Jessica Pressler, opened in theaters Sept. 13. The majority-female cast and crew included writer and director Lorene Scafaria, as well as starring cast members Constance Wu, Julia Stiles, Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Lizzo and Cardi B.
"Having all women on the set — in front of the camera, behind the camera, behind the scenes with producers — it's definitely a different experience. It's not something that happens every day in Hollywood," Lopez told The Hollywood Reporter. "I've done, I don't know, 40 movies or something like that. It's never happened. I don't think it's ever happened."
Lopez launched her entertainment career in 1991 as a Fly Girl dancer on the sketch comedy show "In Living Color." Her first leading role in "Selena" helped her become the first Latina actress to earn over $1 million for a film. She continued acting when she ventured into music with her debut album "On the 6" in 1999. Since then, she's built an extensive portfolio of acting and music gigs, which have led to achievements like earning a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and winning awards from ALMA, BET, Billboard and MTV, among many others.
While Lopez is flattered by the early Oscars buzz, she also doesn't want to get her hopes up and is focused on promoting the hard work that went into creating the film.
"Whenever I get to learn something for a movie, it's always very exciting," Lopez, who trained extensively in pole dancing for her role, told Access. "I didn't realize how difficult this would be, but what I learned is that you can't ever underestimate people. You don't know what it takes to walk in their shoes."
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