Not since the release of “Selena” over two decades ago has Jennifer Lopez been at the center of such overwhelming Oscar buzz. Lopez’s latest, the stripper drama “Hustlers,” premiered to rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival over the weekend. Many critics have singled out Lopez as being not just the film’s highlight but also the best she’s ever been in her acting career. Lopez’s supporting performance as Ramona garnered instant Oscar buzz.
“‘Hustlers’ is funny, empowering, sexy, emotional, and a bit scary,” IndieWire deputy editor Kate Erbland wrote in her A- review, “with most of those superlatives coming care of a full-force performance from Jennifer Lopez genuinely deserving of awards consideration.”
Oscar consideration for Lopez was also championed by the likes of The Daily Beast critic Kevin Fallon, who wrote, “My friend at Variety, Ramin Setoodeh, keeps describing it as Lopez’s version of ‘Erin Brockovich,’ by way of Matthew McConaughey’s magnetic performance in ‘Magic Mike.’ That’s a fair assessment, but it’s also singularly its own beast — and she is a ferocious mama bear in this. She should be a serious Oscar contender, if the studio is smart, in the supporting category; Wu, who gets top-billing, is the true lead of the film, and this is the perfect example of a supporting performance that succeeds at just that: support.”
The Los Angeles Times caught up with Lopez in the midst of the Oscar buzz swirling at TIFF and asked the singer-actress what she’s making of all the raves. To say Lopez is overwhelmed would be an understatement.
“To wake up to that today was like, ‘OK!’” Lopez said. “Obviously, I’m flattered. You work so hard your whole career. I’ve done so many movies and I’ve done so many roles that I’ve learned to not do them for anything except that I love doing them. Every movie that I sign onto and role I choose to play is about me exploring and being an artist, loving life and loving people. Having the opportunity to do that with my life is a pleasure. I learned that I don’t look at anything else. When something like [Oscar buzz] happens it’s just wow.”
“It brings tears to your eyes,” Lopez added. “It’s like, oh! Somebody liked what I did! I love doing this and it doesn’t matter, but it does matter — it does make you feel like all my hard work is being recognized, and that’s nice.”
Lopez stars opposite Constance Wu and Keke Palmer in “Hustlers,” which is directed by “The Meddler” filmmaker Lorene Scafaria. STX Entertainment will release “Hustlers” nationwide September 13. Expect an Oscar campaign for Lopez in the near future.