Managed to eke out a thanks to the original stage Effie, Jennifer Holliday, as the orchestra music began to unceremoniously drown out Jennifer's emotional Oscar acceptance speech. Both Holliday and Sheryl Lee Ralph (the theater's first Deena) had expressed hurt and dismay earlier at being snubbed during the mounting publicity for the "Dreamgirls" film. The third original Dreamgirl on stage, Loretta Devine, received a singing cameo in the film version. The other two were not offered or even approached to appear in the film.
As of 2007 she is the eighth youngest recipient of the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. She won the award at the age of 25 for her performance in Dreamgirls (2006). The others, ranked from youngest to the seventh youngest, are: Tatum O'Neal (aged 10) for Paper Moon (1973), Anna Paquin (aged 11) for The Piano (1993), Patty Duke (aged 16) for The Miracle Worker (1962), Anne Baxter (aged 23) for The Razor's Edge (1946), Teresa Wright (aged 24) for Mrs. Miniver (1942), Goldie Hawn (aged 24) for Cactus Flower (1969) and Angelina Jolie (aged 24) for Girl, Interrupted (1999). She is also the youngest African-American actress ever to win an Academy Award.
Claims that Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993) is her favorite film. Sheryl Lee Ralph, who appears in that film, was one of the original "Dreamgirls" from the Broadway production.
Beat out American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino for her role in Dreamgirls
One of a very few actors to receive an Oscar-nomination for their debut performance.
Made her stage debut with the one-off concert revival of 'Hair' on Broadway in September 2004. She then returned to Broadway for the one-off concert revival of 'The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas' as Jewel in October 2006.
Was not in attendance at the 2007 BAFTA Awards ceremony when she was won the award as Best Supporting Actress for Dreamgirls (2006). Actor and fellow BAFTA-nominee Daniel Craig accepted the award on her behalf.
Companion of James Peyton, a maintenance engineer, since 1999.
Jennifer attributes her vocal talents to her late grandmother Julia Kate Hudson, who was a former choir mistress in Chicago.
Jennifer's role of Effie Melody White in Dreamgirls (2006) is a thinly-disguised portrait of the late ousted Supreme Florence Ballard. Flo's story, however, ended up tragically, unlike that of the Effie character. Of Diana Ross and Mary Wilson, Ballard, who gave the Supremes its name, was the strongest vocalist of the three and all three girls at one point shared leads. Labeled the "No-Hit" Supremes for a time, astute Motown mogul Berry Gordy decided Ross had the ideal personality and coy voice to pull in cross-over white audiences. He was right and the Supremes were a sensation with Ballard and Wilson shoved permanently into the background and never given any solo lines in any of their hits. Unlike Effie, Ballard's weight was not a factor until well into stardom, fed by Ross's diva-like stance, Flo's ongoing depression and problems with alcohol. Ballard's unreliability for shows triggered her dismissal in 1967 and an attempted solo career was a complete bust, never allowed to feed off the Supremes name for publicity. Ballard became destitute with three children to support and her health severely declined. Unlike Effie, Flo never was able to make a comeback and died of a coronary thrombosis in 1976 at age 32.
Was born a few months after "Dreamgirls" debuted on the New York Broadway stage.
Her Best Supporting Actress Oscar statuette for Dreamgirls (2006) stands on the mantelpiece in her apartment in Chicago.
She was overwhelmed to receive the Sammy Davis Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, California. She also performed at the ceremony and said, "I just can't believe I got the Sammy Davis Jr. Award. I'm standing on the same stage where I made the top 32 of American Idol." (10 March 2007).
Had a role in the film Meet the Browns (2008), but was replaced at the last minute.
The first contestant from "American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" (2002) to be nominated and win an Academy Award.
A revival of the 1981 Broadway smash "Dreamgirls" is in the talking stage and Jennifer has been approached about recreating her Effie role.
Is one of the 15 actors to win an Oscar for their film debut. The others are: Shirley Booth for Come Back, Little Sheba (1952), Julie Andrews for Mary Poppins (1964), Barbra Streisand for Funny Girl (1968) and Marlee Matlin for Children of a Lesser God (1986) (all for Best Actress in a Leading Role), followed by Katina Paxinou for For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Mercedes McCambridge for All the King's Men (1949), Eva Marie Saint for On the Waterfront (1954), Jo Van Fleet for East of Eden (1955), Goldie Hawn for Cactus Flower (1969), Tatum O'Neal for Paper Moon (1973) and Anna Paquin for The Piano (1993) (all for Best Actress in a Supporting Role). The three male actors are Harold Russell for The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Timothy Hutton for Ordinary People (1980), and Haing S. Ngor for The Killing Fields (1984) (all for Best Actor in a Supporting Role). Out of these 15 actors, only Mercedes McCambridge, Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand and Goldie Hawn have been nominated since their win.
Presented Javier Bardem with the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in No Country for Old Men (2007). (24 February 2008).
Got engaged to David Otunga on her 27th birthday after he proposed to her with a Neil Lane diamond ring (12 September 2008).
Is the youngest of three children. Her brother Jason works as a mechanic whilst her sister Julia works as a school bus driver.
Confessed that before making the film Sex and the City (2008), she had never seen the "Sex and the City" (1998) television series. After reading the film script she went out and bought all of the DVDs on the TV series and became completely addicted to them.
Is one of 12 African-American actresses to receive the Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination. The others in chronological order are: Hattie McDaniel, Ethel Waters, Juanita Moore, Beah Richards, Alfre Woodard, Margaret Avery, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie Perez, Queen Latifah and Ruby Dee. As of 2008, Whoopi Goldberg is the only African-American actress to receive nominations in both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories.
Began singing when she was 7-years-old. As a child, Jennifer performed as part of a choir at her local church in Chicago.