Academy Members Compare Jennifer Lopez’s Oscar Snub to Lady Gaga’s Loss

Jennifer Lopez’s performance in Hustlers has been met with widespread critical acclaim. Nominated for the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globe, while taking home the LA Critics Award for her performance, many assumed the actress would land the Oscar nomination. However, she was one of the few actors many felt got snubbed — joining the ranks of Adam Sandler for his performance in Uncut Gems and Eddie Murphy for his role in Dolemite Is My Name. 

Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers
Jennifer Lopez seen filming on location for ‘Hustlers’ | James Devaney/GC Images

Why did the Academy fail to recognize Jennifer Lopez’s performance while the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Screen Actors Guild both deemed her portrayal award-worthy? Usually, the Golden Globes are a strong indicator of Oscar nominations and wins. However, Jennifer Lopez got the short end of the stick, and a few Academy members think they know why. 

Why Jennifer Lopez didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for ‘Hustlers’ (according to some of the Academy)

Academy member Terry Moore — an acting legend from the 1950s best known for her performance in Come Back, Little Sheba — explained why, in her opinion, Jennifer Lopez’s lack of a nomination was no surprise. 

According to the New York Post, Moore stated, “I would have been shocked if she did get it,” as she reportedly felt her performance was over-rated. Another academy member chimed in to explain why Lopez may not fit the mold for an “actor’s actor —” the kind of performer other actors deem deserving. The member stated:

Actors tend to think of Jennifer Lopez as a phenomenon more than an actress, per se. [It’s like last year, when] Lady Gaga lost the Oscar to Olivia Colman — a real actor’s actor.

New York Post

What does it mean to be a real actor’s actor? Was Jennifer Lopez snubbed because she is a multi-talented icon? She is a singer, a dancer, and an actress who falls in the phenomenon category, but what does that mean for entertainers like Gaga and Lopez moving forward? Are they barred from winning Oscars because they’re not “method?” Are Oscars reserved for the likes of Joaquin Phoenix and Daniel Day-Lewis?

What it means to be an icon, as opposed to an “actor” 

The above academy member is presumably illustrating the discrepancy between entertainers and virtuosos. While members of the former group are often triple threats — capable of doing nearly everything quite well – the latter group hones in on a singular capability, let’s say acting, and becomes an emblem of the sole category (“a real actor’s actor”). However, Lady Gaga’s performance was stellar and Jennifer Lopez deserved a nomination.

When push comes to shove, just as superhero movies are quickly dismissed, phenomenons are often excluded in-tandem. While full-blown entertainers and sole actors are both artists, the former group suffers from a phenomenon status that often (in the public and critical eye) often serves to minimize their “artist” persuasion (by no fault of their own).

While this fact remains true, it does not remain acceptable. A performance — no matter who gives it — should be viewed on its merit alone. The best performance — whether delivered by a comedian with several critical flops or a singer who can shake it all day — deserves to win. Unfortunately though, like everything else in society, the Academy is political.