By now, pretty much everyone has expressed their anger at the Academy Awards for snubbing Jennifer Lopez, whose portrayal of Ramona in Hustlers had been generating Oscars buzz ever since September, when the film premiered. The exception has been Lopez herself—at least until this weekend, when Oprah Winfrey got her to finally share how she felt.
“I was a little sad because there was a lot of buildup to it,” Lopez told Winfrey at the Los Angeles leg of Winfrey’s 2020 Vision Tour on Saturday. “I got so many good notices—more than ever in my career. And I’m reading all the articles and I’m going, Oh my God, could this happen? And then it didn’t and it was like, Ouch. It was a bit of a letdown.”
Hustlers, which stars Lopez as Ramona, the ringleader of a crew of strippers who scam their Wall Street clients out of thousands of dollars, didn’t receive a single Oscar nomination. And more generally, only one person of color (Cynthia Erivo) was nominated in any of the acting categories. Still, to Lopez, the loss felt personal: “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,” she said. “So I felt like I let everyone down a little bit.”
Lopez’s portrayal of Ramona didn’t go entirely unnoticed during awards season; the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards all nominated Lopez for Best Supporting Actress. Ultimately, she didn’t take any of the awards home, though she did get to show off her hard-earned mastery of pole dancing at the Super Bowl halftime show last month.
At this point, it sounds like Lopez has come to terms with the way things played out. “You realize you want people’s validation,” she told Winfrey. “You want people to say you did a good job, and I realized, No, you don’t need that. You do this because you love it. I don’t need this award to tell me I’m enough.” Of course, her ultrasupportive fiancé, Alex Rodriguez has long agreed. “Jen, it doesn’t take a trophy, medal, or plaque to identify a true champion,” he wrote on Instagram after the Globes, going on to call her a “champion” four more times.