2019: The Year of Jennifer Lopez

This year, Jennifer Lopez kept up her judging duties on the reality show World of Dance, hosted Saturday Night Live, and embarked on a nationwide tour performing her many hit songs. She also turned 50 and got engaged to baseball legend Alex Rodriguez. However, 2019 will likely be known as the year J-Lo made a commercially and critically successful return to the big screen.

Her role as seasoned stripper turned business savvy crime lord Ramona in Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers has already earned her precursor awards love. And the film, which grossed over $100 million domestically against a meager $20 million budget, should earn her a first trip to Academy Awards as a nominee for Supporting Actress. She’s even got a real shot to win.

It’s been over two decades since Lopez’s most acclaimed roles in Selena and Out of Sight. Over the past few years, her cinematic work has consisted of forgettable thrillers like The Boy Next Door and middling rom coms such as Second Act. That dynamic changed with her fierce Hustlers work and earns her a welcome spot among the block of memorable performers this year.

Oscar Watch: Hustlers

I didn’t assume I’d be writing an Oscar Watch post for Hustlers, but it’s emerged out of Toronto with that distinct possibility in one category. Based on a 2015 New York magazine piece about a group of strippers who embezzle money from Wall Street types, the dramedy from director Lorene Scafaria is being called a wildly entertaining crowd pleaser.

Hustlers debuts next weekend and the critical reaction points to potent box office returns. Constance Wu of Crazy Rich Asians gets top billing, but it’s Jennifer Lopez who’s said to steal the show. I wouldn’t be surprised to see STXfilms mount a serious campaign for her in Supporting Actress.

The actress and singer has never been nominated for an Academy Award. Early in her career, she received raves for Selena and Out of Sight. Hollywood loves a big comeback role and Hustlers could fit the bill for voters to solidify it. My Oscar Watch posts will continue…