Jennifer Lopez has at all times been obsessive about authenticity.
It is there in her music, just like the 2014 single “Identical Lady,” the radio sensation “I am Actual” with Ja Rule and her signature bop “Jenny From the Block.” Within the latter, a woman from the Bronx makes the solemn promise: “Irrespective of the place I’m going, I do know the place I got here from.” It is also been doled out in her movie roles, a lot of them rags-to-rich fairytales that emphasize each her avenue smarts and supreme glamor, like “Maid in Manhattan,” “Second Act” and, most not too long ago, “Marry Me.”
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So the prospect of her all-access documentary – Netflix‘s “Halftime,” which opened this 12 months’s Tribeca Movie Competition and debuts on the streamer as we speak – not solely makes good sense for J. Lo-the-brand but additionally suggests her higher obligation to the reality as she enters the fourth decade of an incredible profession in present enterprise. Curiously, although, the Lopez mythology we have come to know appears rote in comparison with the true bombshell of the doc: that world superstars are usually not proof against crushing defeat, as evidenced by her failure to safe an Oscar nomination for an acclaimed flip within the 2019 drama “Hustlers. ”
On the petty byways of Hollywood, bruised egos and anger over a star’s incapacity to get awards consideration isn’t spoken of publicly. It’s gossiped about at limitless For Your Consideration lunches and cocktail events, over dishy group textual content threads and at homosexual brunches throughout subway Los Angeles (together with mine, to be actual). The trope of actors being “humbled and honored simply to be nominated” is so pervasive that award present presenters have crafted musical numbers poking enjoyable at its artifice.
However in “Halftime,” Lopez is deeply weak in discussing what that Oscar nomination would have meant to her – acknowledgment from an inventive institution that has not traditionally accepted her pop star ambitions and splashy public romances.
Directed by Amanda Micheli, “Halftime” masterfully creates a subplot round Lopez’s momentum as a contender for greatest supporting actress prizes. Within the movie’s first 10 minutes, we see Lopez set expectations as each a producer and star of “Hustlers,” about an opportunistic ring of unique dancers who robbed their funding banker shoppers after the 2008 monetary crash.
The day after the “Hustlers” world premiere on the 2019 Toronto Worldwide Movie Competition, Lopez is seen in a hair and make-up chair prepping for an intense spherical of press. Her producing associate, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, telephones in with the primary spherical of “Hustlers” evaluations.
“Jennifer Lopez dominates in a quintessentially American story,” Goldsmith-Thomas oozes by means of a speakerphone, capping it off with, “Jennifer Lopez is Oscar worthy.” The star’s face crumbles into infantile pleasure, then rapidly dissolves into paranoid superstition.
“We’re on our solution to the Oscars,” one glam squad member says because the entourage heads out for the press day.
“Cease!” Lopez instructions. “See? You are making me nervous. ”
In quite a few interviews through the years, Lopez has mentioned that her movie profession was front-loaded with status roles – “Out of Sight” and her breakout “Selena” being probably the most notable. However administrators like Oliver Stone and Steven Soderbergh stopped calling when her platinum-selling music profession launched (and with it, style traces and fragrances and different profitable model alternatives that always battle with excessive artwork). In a single tribute, “Hustlers” director Lorene Scafaria mentioned, “perhaps as a result of she’s made onerous work look so easy for therefore lengthy, it’s simple to take Jennifer Lopez without any consideration. I am so proud she’s getting the popularity she deserves. ” The doc additionally goes out of its solution to immediately quote awards pundits questioning aloud that Lopez could appear an excessive amount of like a star to award performing’s best prize in earnest.
This white-knuckle experience of will or will not she ascend the Oscar stage follows Lopez by means of a lot of the movie. Although different, extra consequential life occasions play out – her Tremendous Bowl LIV Halftime present efficiency, for instance, which was watched by extra viewers than the final 5 Oscar telecasts mixed – they don’t appear to hold the identical emotional weight with the lady from the Bronx.
“There’s a complete circuit round awards season that I had by no means executed earlier than. it really turns into a marketing campaign. if you happen to do not do it, they make you’re feeling like you do not have an opportunity, ”Lopez tells her documentary, with real misery in her voice.
Her journey continues down a well-worn path to Oscar glory that many business insiders will acknowledge: a highlight award on the Palm Springs Worldwide Movie Competition, then the elation of a Golden Globe nomination (which definitely dates this doc, contemplating that group’s implosion within the time since “Hustlers” made its rounds).
On the eve of the Golden Globes, most of the similar glam squad and supporters from Toronto and Lopez’s total profession packed a set on the Beverly Hilton, solely to look at her lose out to Laura Dern for “Marriage Story.”
Getting into the suite with Goldsmith-Thomas after the loss, Lopez and longtime supervisor Benny Medina battle off tears as they embrace.
“I actually thought I had an opportunity,” Lopez says. “I really feel like I let everyone down.”
For followers looking at Lopez on journal covers, or friends and media gamers witnessing her float between afterparties and energy lunches, these are the non-public moments we have solely ever speculated over. Afterward within the documentary, simply earlier than the Oscar snub is handed down, Lopez breaks into tears from her mattress, studying an article from Glamor journal.
Frankly, it is thrilling to see a criminally underrated performer Lopez Lopez reads about herself, earlier than getting choked up, “get her due from status movie shops.”
It isn’t the bumpy experience on the 6 practice into Manhattan, the one Lopez would take to audition for dance gigs in her youth, but it surely’s her actuality. And it is deeply revealing.
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