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‘Hustlers’ director on what Oscars could mean for sex workers

Lorene Scafaria
“Hustlers” director Lorene Scafaria arrives at GQ’s Men of the Year celebration in West Hollywood.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP)

An Oscar nomination for “Hustlers” would mark a major career milestone for Jennifer Lopez, who has yet to receive recognition from the academy despite decades in the industry.

But if Lopez’s awards momentum pans out, it would also mean a lot for the community her stripper character, Ramona, represents, according to director Lorene Scafaria.

“Even for just a movie about sex workers to be in that kind of conversation that is often reserved for a different breed of film, there’s something meaningful there about that,” Scafaria told The Times on the black carpet at GQ’s Men of the Year party. “We got to make the movie that we wanted to make, and we’re so proud of what it says and that people turned out and and actually saw it and saw it for what it was.”

The stars came out Thursday night to celebrate Lopez and her fellow GQ Men of the Year cover stars — Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Tyler, the Creator — at the magazine’s lavish annual bash at the West Hollywood Edition hotel. Though not all of the night’s honorees were present, their collective star power was definitely felt among attendees.

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“She had her tour and [“Hustlers”], and so much has gone on,” Scafaria said of her muse. “I mean, she’s kind of been working her [butt] off for a long time. But I think, even for J-Lo, this is kind of an extraordinary year in her career.”

“Russian Doll” actor Charlie Barnett also gushed over the multi-talented Lopez and praised GQ for recognizing non-traditional kinds of “masculine energy.” Lopez did not make an appearance at the event, which likely conflicted with commitments related to her upcoming hosting gig on this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live.”

“She’s a badass,” Barnett said. “I’m happy to be here supporting J. Lo.”

One Men of the Year recipient in attendance was Pacino, who generated much excitement both on the carpet and inside the party. Glen Powell, soon to appear in the “Top Gun” revival alongside Tom Cruise, was visibly starstruck by the “Irishman” actor, who slipped by him as Powell spoke with The Times.

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“At this event, I’m always shocked by who you end up stumbling into,” Powell said. “Uncomfortably, Al Pacino, behind me, is someone I’ve studied for a long time, so that’s always obviously fun to be in the presence of that.”

Al Pacino
“The Irishman” and GQ cover star Al Pacino arrives at the magazine’s Men of the Year event.
(MediaPunch / Shutterstock)

The self-proclaimed Pacino fan also expressed some embarrassment for having not yet seen the Hollywood veteran’s latest project.

“I wish I would have seen ‘The Irishman’ before tonight,” he said. “I feel so dumb for not seeing it.”

Several celebrities skipped much of the press line and headed straight to the party for conversation, music and drinks. The relatively intimate venue made for tight quarters and fun star encounters, including a “Lion King” reunion between comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Billy Eichner, who voiced hyena Kamari and meerkat Timon in the 2019 Disney remake, respectively.

Jon Hamm
“Mad Men” alum Jon Hamm arrives at GQ’s Men of the Year celebration.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision / AP / Shutterstock)

Hanging around the bar was “Mad Men” alum Jon Hamm, clad in a sleek, checkered suit at the fashion-forward event. Other notable looks included “Old Town Road” hitmaker Lil Nas X’s sheer, sparkly tee and turquoise leather suit, Pacino’s sunglasses and wrap-around scarf, Post Malone’s signature cowboy hat and a pinstripe ensemble from Billy Idol, who turned several heads with his unexpected arrival.

Lil Nas X
Singer Lil Nas X arrives at GQ’s Men of the Year party.
(MediaPunch / Shutterstock)
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Darren Criss, Jameela Jamil, Bo Burnham, Edward Norton, Kevin Bacon, G-Eazy, Karamo Brown, Nicholas Braun and Nick Kroll also joined the celebration. And Malone treated guests to a surprise concert at the Edition’s sunset lounge, where he performed several songs, including hits “Sunflower” and “Congratulations,” to close out the night.


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