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Jennifer Lopez on ‘Hustlers’ Oscar buzz and that showstopping pole dance

Critics are raving over Jennifer Lopez’s turn as the savvy ex-stripper at the center of a scam ring in “Hustlers,” a performance that launched her into the awards race overnight following Saturday’s Toronto International Film Festival premiere. Her reaction?

“To wake up to that today was like, ‘OK!’" she said Sunday afternoon at the L.A. Times studio. “Obviously, I’m flattered. You work so hard your whole career.... I’ve done so many movies and I’ve done so many roles that I’ve learned to not do them for anything except that I love doing them.”

“It brings tears to your eyes,” added Lopez, who was joined by co-star Constance Wu and filmmakere Lorene Scafaria. “It’s like, oh! Somebody liked what I did! I love doing this and it doesn’t matter, but it does matter — it does make you feel like all my hard work is being recognized, and that’s nice.”

Lopez plays Ramona, the veteran dancer who takes newbie stripper Destiny (Wu) under her wing in the STX crime drama written and directed by Scafaria with an ensemble that includes Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart, Cardi B and Lizzo.

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The recording artist and actress is also a producer on “Hustlers,” inspired by true events and based on the 2015 New York Magazine article “The Hustlers at Scores.” Lopez also detailed the painstaking training that went into her showstopping entrance scene in the film, in which she delivers a mesmerizing pole dance to the tune of Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.”

“I said, ‘When I go upside down, make sure you see my face so they know it’s me!” Lopez said with a laugh.

“Hustlers” hits theaters Sept. 13.


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