Jennifer Hudson May Just Make Oscars History. Again.

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Jennifer Hudson is on the cusp to make Oscars history yet again: Should she rack up nominations for her role as Aretha Franklin in the biopic Respect, she’d be the first Black woman to set a precedent at the awards show.

If Hudson gets nominated for the Oscar for lead actress and original song (for the track “Here I Am (Singing My Way Home),” co-written by Carole King and Jamie Alexander Hartman), she’d be “the first Black woman to be nominated in three individual categories,” reports Variety. The publication explains that only three Black women have been previously recognized in two individual categories including Viola Davis, Whoopi Goldberg (actress and supporting actress), and Oprah Winfrey (supporting actress and best picture). Nominations are slated to be announced on Feb. 8.

Previously, when Hudson – now 40 – was 25, she became the youngest Black woman to ever win an acting Oscar when she starred as Effie White in Dreamgirls. She’s now just a Tony Award away from achieving EGOT status.

Variety also notes that if Hudson gets both nods for Respect, it’s the “third time a Black woman has received multiple nominations in the same year.” The other two times were when Mary J. Blige was nominated for supporting actress and for the song “Mighty River” from Mudbound, and when Cynthia Erivo was nominated for lead actress and for the song “Stand Up” from Harriet.

A nomination for Hudson also means that Respect director Liesl Tommy becomes the second Black woman in history to direct a Black leading actor to an Oscar nomination. In 2019, Kasi Lemmons became the first for Harriet with Erivo.

The Oscars have long been assailed for their lack of diversity, as evidenced by the repeated campaigns dubbing the show Oscars So White. While more women are making history at the Oscars, Black women specifically have received little recognition at the show, having only accounted for less than 20 of the award winners in the more than 3,000 that have been doled out.

Tags: celebrity, trends

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Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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