Back stage at the Oscars with Jennifer Hudson: The press interview

At the Academy Awards every year, after the winners receive their Oscar, they are herded into a photograph room for their official photos and then into the press room where international press have an opportunity to “talk” with the winners.

Following is the official Academy transcript for Jennifer Hudson:

Q.  Jennifer, Joel Ryan for E Online. Jennifer, you’ve been considered the front runner in this race for a long time. When you were sitting there tonight, Eddie Murphy did not win, were you starting to think things were shifting in another way?

A.  I mean, you can never be too sure, you never know. It was just like, I didn’t know, it could go either way.

Q.  Hi, Jennifer straight here, Steven Shafer, Boston Herald, congratulations.

A.  Thank you.

Q.  So to have this incredible kind of Cinderalla story, you seem so overwhelmed and you thanked God to start. How did it feel? What was going through your head when you heard your name?

A.  I couldn’t believe it. I’m still in shock, like, did I really just win? Like I say, you never know, you can never be too sure, and it’s a surprise and it still is. It’s going to take awhile to get used to this.

Q.  Hi, Jennifer, congratulations.

A.  Thank you.

Q.  Liz from Us Weekly. What do you think about the rumors of tension on the set with you and the other cast members like Beyoncé?

A.  Well, it’s not true, so it’s not much to think about it. How about that?

Q.  Jennifer, Janet Davies from Chicago.

A.  How are you?

Q.  How are you doing?

A.  I’m good.

Q.  Congratulations, we are so proud of you in Chicago.

A.  Thank you.

Q.  Tell me, how are you going to stay that same sweet girl who sang in the Chicago church choir?

A.  I always go back home and still sing in that church choir in Chicago. That’s my reality and that’s what keeps my grounded.

Q.  Jennifer, Bill also from Chicago from Chicago Sun Times and CBS. Hi, over here.

A.  Hey.

Q.  Congratulations.

A.  Thank you.

Q.  We’ve watched your whole journey. What is it — you’ve often talked about your faith, you’ve also talked about your Chicago roots. What is it about that you think you brought to the role?

A.  You know, the emotion, you know, being able to be connected and making it real because that’s what I started doing. Where I learned of the emotion is in church and singing from the heart, and thank God I had that because I was able to draw from it and use it with this character.

Q.  Hi, Jennifer.

A.  Hello.

Q.  Congratulations. I’m sure it’s been a very magical night for you. Other than the winning the Oscar, what will you remember most from tonight?

A.  Oh, my God, performing at the Oscars. I mean, this is my first one, and to be here for one and then to be nominated and then to win and then to perform.

Q.  Hi, Jennifer.

A.  Hi.

Q.  You look very gorgeous. You mentioned about — I’m from Voice of America from Indonesian Service. And you mentioned about your grandma as your inspiration. Tell me more about her.

A.  Well, she’s led over a hundred solos in our church choir, and I come from a singing background. And she never wanted to go professional, and she said, because you have to sing and work when you don’t want to, and she just wanted to sing in church for the Lord. And my theory is I have her voice, and had she went professional, I wouldn’t exist. So my duty and my goal and my dream is to be able to do this for her because I felt like I had a voice that should have been heard by the world.

Q.  Hi, Jennifer. Jean from Jet magazine. We love you.

A.  I see you. I love you too.

Q.  I wanted to find out from you, in addition to receiving some advice from Felicia P. Fields, did you have an acting coach? And then also, I noticed that you gave a shout out to Jennifer Holliday.

A. Yes.

Q.  Fantastic.

A. Yes. Well, first off, Ms. Holliday. Her and the other Dreams, the original Dreamgirls, they paved the way for us to be here today to make the film. Had they not done that unbelievable job, there would not have been the Dreamgirls made, so how can you not thank them for that? As far as the acting coach, yes, I did talk to Felicia Fields, but I did have an acting coach, Richard Lyons, who coached me through Dreamgirls.

Q. Right here by the camera, Jennifer. Stephanie Fredricks, Los Angeles Sentinel. How will you celebrate tonight?

A. Well, I’m going to go to the Vanity Fair party and the
Governors’ Ball.

Q.  What else?

A.  What else? That’ll be it; I’m not a partier, but I’ll just
have to sit down and enjoy it with myself, you know, and just have my own private party.

Q.  Jennifer, right here, congratulations.

A. Thank you.

Q.  Greg Hanes, Daily News. Sat with you at the Oscar lunch.

A.  All right.

Q.  We shared the sushi. After Hattie McDaniel and Whoopi
Goldberg, you’re only the third African American actress to win an Oscar. What are your thoughts on that?

A.  It’s a little odd, I think, because I keep being the third of everything. Let’s see, I was the third to be on the cover of Vogue, I believe, and now I’m the third at what, supporting actress, I don’t know exactly what it is. But it’s an honor, and I’m just glad to be able to hold the statue in my hand.

Q.  Do you think it’s overdue?

A.  What was that?

Q.  Do you think it’s overdue, that there was only three out of 80 years or so of Oscars?

A. I mean, I’m sure there were other unbelievable performances, but, you know, there’s a step and there’s a process to everything, and this represents change and a difference.

Q.  Scott with Now, is winning this Oscar, does that in some way give you even more to prove to Hollywood to remind them that yes, even though I got it out of the gate, I deserve it?

A. God, it definitely adds pressure, I know that much. But what I look at it as is the only — I cannot express in words how much this award means to me, but all I can do is show it in my work to come and continue to make the Academy proud, not because I got nominated tonight, but just because I have to constantly represent them in the best way possible.

Q.  Hi Jennifer, back in the back here.

A.  Hey.

Q.  I told you you was going to win, girl.

A. Thank you.

Q.  I told you you was going to win. What are you going to do with that trophy? What is next for you?

A.  Well, I just bought my new place back home in Chicago, so I’m going to put it in my house along with my Golden Globe and my SAG award and everything else, near my bathtub. And next is my album that I’ll start recording, and possibly another film.

Q.  TV Guide Channel. So to start out on American Idol in TV, on a reality show, and to get an Oscar in your first film right out of the gate, I mean, what does that say about that show and what it did for your career?

A.  Well, it says that American Idol is a great platform. Thank God there is such a thing as Idol. There’s many other talents that came before that didn’t have a platform to sing but they allowed us that platform and for that we can say thank you.

Q.  Hi Jennifer. Congratulations.

A.  Thank you.

Q.  I’m excited for you.

A.  Thank you.

Q.  I know you said before you see yourself as a singer first and actor second, but now that you have an Oscar in your hand.

A. Thank you. Thank you again. I don’t ever want to have to choose between the two, and I want to be able to continue to do them both and just do them justice. And I don’t want to ever have to choose, so hopefully I don’t have to put them first or second.

Q.  Hollywood has been full of extensively trained actors and actresses that have honed their craft film after film. What do you think your film says about the true difficulty of acting?

A.  Can you rephrase that? What do I think –

Q.  You don’t have the training that a lot of actors have. Do you think that that says it’s really not as difficult as some people say?

A.  I don’t know. It’s different strokes for different folks, you know, and it comes a different way, but I think it’s all about your passion for what you do and what your craft is, more so than anything.

Q.  I’ve got to ask about this outfit and who designed it. And is it a coincidence it’s golden like the Oscar?

A.  Actually, I don’t think it’s a coincidence. It just turned out to be a fabulous distress and a Roberto Cavalli.

Q.  First of all, everybody thought you were the front runner to win. Obviously, I’m sure you heard that. Were you scared that Eddie Murphy didn’t win, because he was also a front runner, and how did you feel when he didn’t win?

A.  I was definitely shocked and of course it makes you a little more nervous, but I was already nervous. But once again, you can never be too sure, it can go any way, because I’ve been through pretty much every award event this year. And at first every face became familiar, I remember them, I remember them, but there’s so many faces and I don’t know them, so it shows the change. And once again, it’s unpredictable.

Q.  Jennifer, along those same lines, with Eddie not winning tonight, he’s got a strong background in comedy and been very successful in that area. Do you think that that affected thoughts in voters’ minds that he’s a funny guy, and funny guys don’t win Oscars?

A.  I don’t know. I just know that he did an unbelievable job, and I feel like at this point, just being a nominee, we’re all winners.

Q.  Hi. Jeff Cornell with MTV. I want to talk music, talk about what people can expect from your album. When are you going to record it? Give us all the information you have, please.

A.  I’m about to find out now that this is over. I’ll get started next month in March, and maybe this time next month I’ll be able to answer that question. But I will have the album out by fall of this year, that’s the only thing I can tell you for sure right now.

Q. Congratulations.

A. Thank you.

Q.  Great. You know, you’ve learned a lot during this process. What have you learned about what it takes to really be the best? You’ve had to concentrate on the way you look, you’ve had to concentrate on speeches, you’ve had to — is it a bigger responsibility than you expected?

A.  It’s definitely the biggest responsibility I have ever had in my life. Just giving it your all, you know, in anything that you do, and that to me was the truth of it, or it is, and just completely dedicating yourself. I have never dedicated myself to anything the way I did with this, so I think it’s dedication.

Q.  Everybody said this is absolutely must be an amazing experience. I’m sure it is. You’ve been in a relationship for eight years, and suddenly this fame must be overwhelming. Have you talked and sat down and said, no matter what, because you know Hollywood sometimes can be cruel on relationships.

A.  We haven’t really talked about it because he’s not really — he’s not in Hollywood, you know, he’s a regular guy, and I think I’m a regular girl. At least I was. So it balances out, you know. So we really don’t talk about it or think of it that way.

Q.  And starting out in music and having success already, and now in films, are you going to try and balance both, or are you just going to concentrate on one?

A.  Well, I want to balance them both, but while I’m doing one I want to focus on just that one. Like when I filmed Dreamgirls, I didn’t perform, I didn’t sing, I just focused on that. That’s what I mean by dedication and complete focus. And when I’m ding the album, I want to just focus on that. Because I want to be able to give it every bit of my all to whatever I’m doing because they both deserve that and I love them and respect them just the same.

Q.  Hey, Jennifer, Ted. Congratulations.

A. Thank you.

Q.  Why is it so often called with men, on and off camera, competitiveness, but with women it’s called cat-fighting, but also as a great survivor, as a singer in the spotlight, what do you think Britney Spears should do right now?

A.  Okay, wait a minute. Let me get the first half of the question together. What was it, the first half?

Q.  Men are called competitive, women are called cat-fighters.

A.  Why is that?

Q.  Yeah, so often?

A.  I don’t know, I guess half the time because we’re cat-fighting, huh? No, it’s just, I guess, part of our nature, but it’s not always like that, you know, and it doesn’t always have to be said like that. But I think by men it’s looked at like that and that’s where it comes from. And Britney…

Q. She needs your help.

A. All I can do is pray for her, that’s the best I can do. I don’t know what’s going on and it ain’t my business.

Q. Congratulations.

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