Jennifer Lopez’s Best Movie and TV Roles Before ‘Hustlers’

If there’s one thing that’s common in every single film in which Jennifer Lopez appears, it’s this: While many were panned critically, her performance is universally praised. Does that mean that she picks bad roles? It’s hard to say, but whatever the case, we know that she’s talented.

Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez | Amy Sussman/SHJ2019/WireImage

Despite perhaps being better known for singing and dancing, Lopez has had a steady acting career for the past two decades. Now, there’s buzz that she’ll be nominated for an Oscar for her latest role in Hustlers. Here’s a look back at her best roles on the big and small screens.

‘Selena’ (1997)

Though she had a few gigs of note prior to this, Selena is the movie that catapulted Lopez to stardom in Hollywood. She starred in the biopic as the titular Selena Quintanilla, a celebrated Mexican-America performer who was shot and killed by her manager at the age of 23.

Just two years after her death, the film starring Lopez was released. She received a Golden Globe nomination for her role in which many said that she perfectly channeled the recently deceased songstress. Nailing a biopic in one of your first major film performances is enough to get everyone talking, that’s for sure.

‘Out of Sight’ (1998)

The year after Selena was released, Lopez completely flipped the script. In Out of Sight, she portrays a U.S. Marshal who falls for an escaped convict but continued to pursue him. Lopez stars opposite George Clooney in this crime comedy, which was nominated for multiple Osars.

This was just the beginning of Lopez in an action hero role. It was also one of the first times she was able to show off her comedic sensibilities, which led to many of her future roles.

‘The Wedding Planner’ 2001

The early-mid 00s was a popular time for romantic comedies, and Lopez did well in that arena, starring in Gigli, Maid in Manhattan, and Shall We Dance? among others. But it was her first entry in the genre, The Wedding Planner, that is still her best.

In the film, Lopez stars as a wedding planner who falls in love with Steve “Eddie” Edison, played by Matthew McConaughey. The only problem? She’s planning his wedding. The movie is as typically predictable and corny as any other from the time, but Lopez’s performance still stands as a great one, despite falling into the usual “beautiful but klutzy” tropes.

‘Shades of Blue’ (2016-2018)

Lopez has been considered a movie star for many years, but she took her talents to the small screen with Shades of Blue, an NBC crime drama. Lopez portrays Harlee Santos, an NYPD detective who isn’t exactly on the straight and narrow. She teams up with Ray Liotta’s character and becomes an FBI informant.

It’s one thing to give an incredible performance in a film that you work on for a few months, but for Lopez dedicated three years of her life to Shades of Blue, and she never lets up. She won the People’s Choice Award for Best Crime Drama Actress in 2017, so clearly, most agree.

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