In a performance that wowed audiences, as well as garnered many nominations from critics guilds and even the Hollywood Foreign Press, Jennifer Lopez’s role as Ramona in Hustlers seemed like a surefire nomination at last year’s Academy Awards. But somehow, when nomination day came in 2020, there was nary a peep for Lopez, or even the film itself, which left a lot of people confused as to how something like that could have happened. It’s something that the world definitely saw as a glaring oversight, and Jennifer Lopez herself still feels a bit snubbed over.
There’s a big difference between Jennifer Lopez’s feelings about not landing an Oscar nod and that of anyone else who may claim the same thing. While any actor could say that 2020 was their year, and that a nomination should have been in the bag, Hustlers’ track record with awards bodies prior to the Oscars actually set up a reasonable expectation for Lorene Scafaria’s film to clean up with at least nominations in major categories. During an interview with Allure, that pattern was recognized as Jennifer Lopez told the following story of reflection on that stunning moment:
I was talking about this the other day. [My production partner] Elaine [Goldsmith-Thomas] made a post where she listed all the things I had been nominated for and won that season. And when it came to the Oscars, it was so obviously absent. It was a sting.
If you look at the nominations and wins that Jennifer Lopez did score for Hustlers, you’ll see that the path was laid out for, at the very least, a Best Supporting Actress nomination. Even the controversial Golden Globes seemed to get it right, with a Best Supporting Actress slot given to her performance; though the night would eventually go to the woman who would also take home the Oscar in that same category. 2020 was the year that saw Laura Dern win both major awards shows with her performance in Marriage Story, an award that, depending on who you talk to, should have went to Ms. Lopez.
Eventually there comes a time when an actor has to look at the hype and ask themselves whether or not it’s worth getting hung up over what could have been. This was Jennifer Lopez’s moment to talk that out, and to be fair, it wasn’t like Hustlers gained any other nominations ,but saw her left out in the cold. With the film totally stalled out in its awards prospects, her thoughts turned to these important questions:
I was like, ‘Okay, when you’re supposedly in everybody else’s mind supposed to be nominated and you’re not, what does that mean? Is it really real? Are the other ones real and this one isn’t?’ It came to a point where I was like, ‘This is not why I do this. I don’t do this to have 10 Oscars sitting on my mantle or 20 Grammys.’
'Disappointment' is the first word that comes to mind when looking at the shut out that Hustlers experienced during last year’s Oscar nominations. But as far as the film and Jennifer Lopez’s performance are concerned, the court of public opinion seems to back both as prospects that were unfairly passed up. So while the short term may have been unkind to this tale of strippers with a knack for cashing in, the long run could see this film stay fresh in the minds of audiences worldwide. And it certainly hasn’t stopped Jennifer Lopez in the slightest, which is perhaps the greatest triumph of all.