“You know you’re going to win an Oscar for playing me, right?” As if it were another part of her will, Aretha Franklin wanted to guarantee before her death the only person worthy of continuing her legacy, even if only in fiction. And it was so clear that the chosen one was Jennifer Hudson that she dared to predict a destination of ovation and an award for one of the few voices capable of peering into the personality of his own but, above all, for one of the few stars who have risen from experiences as traumatic as those lived by her. The 40-year-old Oscar-winning singer is now fulfilling Franklin’s wish with Respect (released September 24), the first biopic about the queen of soul and who, following the diva’s prediction, has made the figurine drums beat for the great survivor of recent Hollywood. Perhaps the biography that hits theaters in a few years will have Hudson’s own moving life story as its narrative thread.
Because the Chicago job is the most precious claim of Respect, an excessively conventional hagiography in content and form that narrates Aretha’s particular ‘hero’s journey’, from her beginnings in the church choir to international stardom. In addition to daring to cover all her successes, her dramatic performance has already positioned her as one of the great candidates to star in the race for the best actress statuette this year. Taking into account, in addition, the historical devotion of academics to the recreations of figures of the song such as Billie Holiday, Judy Garland or Freddie Mercury. “His performance is deserving of the Oscar,” he says. The Independent. Can she get the best actress nomination? They wonder Variety O Billboard. “The movie is good, but its performance is from another world,” he adds. Cinemablend. That it has once again been at the forefront of the industry is shown by photos such as the one taken with the omnipotent Anne Wintour and Tom Ford at the last Met Gala.
Jennifer Hudson’s life has always been linked to the figure of Franklin. It was a theme of the Memphis diva, Share Your Love With Me, the one who made a young showgirl in the children’s shows of a cruise ship become a television phenomenon thanks to the program American Idol. Hudson’s casting to enter the third season of the talent musical has today more than 23 million views on YouTube and, although its passage through the transcript of Triumph operation It did not win it the final victory, it is the most successful candidate to come out of the contest in its two decades of broadcast. Her very powerful voice has led her to sing at Aretha’s own funeral or at the Super Bowl, before Barack Obama at the inauguration of his second term and has even sung the Hallelujah at a mass officiated by Pope Francis in Madison. Square Garden, thus completing the circle of the girl who closed her eyes in the church choir because of stage fright.
15 years have passed since the last time his name was on the minds of critics and academics. Fresh out of the television format, director Bill Condon “threw himself off a cliff” by betting on her to play Effie, one of the three leading choristers of Dreamgirls, adaptation of the Broadway musical. Hudson had never set foot on a movie set or had acting studios, but his discreet media profile allowed him to focus all the focus on the film’s protagonists: Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx and a Beyoncé at the peak of her popularity after the triumphant Crazy in love and that he was facing his first leading role on camera. Hudson’s face did not even appear on the poster and it was the aforementioned star trio that made the covers of magazines such as Vanity Fair. But Hudson, supported by a song that continues to make the hair stand on end today and serving as a level test in singers auditions, And I Am Telling You I’m Not GoingNot only did she become the unofficial star of the film, but she swept all the best supporting actress awards in her wake, including a statuette.
“When was the last time you saw a newcomer outshine an Oscar winner, pop diva, and veteran movie star? Mrs. Hudson is not going anywhere. She has just arrived ”, affirmed the critic about Dreamgirls from The New York Times, who devoted several paragraphs full of praise. The unexpected repercussions of his work soon made headlines in the tabloid press. As published, Beyoncé’s ego was so hurt that she even refused to read any information about the film in the press. The performer of hits like Halo she was forced to come to the fore and refute the alleged jealousy. “It is very unfortunate that once again the media is stirring things up between us just because we are women. You don’t hear that Jamie (Foxx) is jealous of her, you hear that I am. Why should I be? ”Beyoncé protested.
But the meteoric as well as unusual rise of Hudson ran into an episode in 2008 that marked and will mark his life and professional career. Just a year after winning the Oscar and her self-titled debut album becoming a best-seller, the singer’s mother and brother were shot dead at their home on the afternoon of October 24. And his nephew, Julian, just 7 years old, was missing for a couple of days until his body was also found in the seat of a car with two bullets in the head. The person responsible for the crimes was William Balfour, Jennifer Hudson’s ex-brother-in-law, who after discovering that the actress’s sister was dating another man decided to take revenge on her by killing three of her loved ones. After a lengthy judicial process, Balfour was sentenced to life imprisonment. “Who do I mourn for first? Who do I start with? ”, The torn artist wondered years later, before Oprah Winfrey, in one of the first interviews in which what happened was addressed.
By her own admission, the best therapy she followed to try to move on and overcome the trauma, if that is even possible after an episode of this magnitude, has been motherhood. The following year, she gave birth to her only son, David, the fruit of her marriage to professional wrestler David Otunga –which they dissolved in 2017– and, in her words, her offspring “saved her life”. “I went from being an aunt, having a mother and being a girl to not having a mother, becoming one and raising my own child,” she told the US edition of the magazine. Glamour.
The tragedy united her even more to what went from being her great idol to her friend and mentor, Aretha Franklin, also the protagonist of a life as heartbreaking as some of her most iconic songs. Although the idea of bringing the work and miracles of the queen of soul to the cinema has been on the table of Hollywood executives for more than 20 years, Respect He only got ahead once Franklin decided that it should be Hudson, and only Hudson, the one in charge of putting himself in his shoes. “This goes beyond singing and dancing. I think she saw something in me… I would not have been able to go as deep as possible to tell this story in the most honest way possible without having lived my own experiences first, ”said Hudson. The monarch already has her successor on the throne.
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Respect for Jennifer Hudson: How the actress overcame tragedy to cherish the Oscar nomination | Celebrities, Vips