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[THE OSCARS] | Supporting actress

The dream keeps getting better

February 26, 2007|Greg Braxton

SINCE the first industry screening of "Dreamgirls," Jennifer Hudson seemed a sure thing in terms of being in the running for an Oscar. The former "American Idol" also-ran became the real thing Sunday in nabbing the Academy Award for best supporting actress.

In her role as the rejected, overweight singer Effie White, Hudson, in her screen debut, overshadowed her more experienced costars Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Beyonce Knowles, who had made no secret of her desire to win an Oscar.

Her win helped offset the upset of Murphy, who had been favored to win in the best supporting actor category (he lost to Alan Arkin of "Little Miss Sunshine"). Hudson was always the clear front-runner -- she had nabbed almost every major award leading up to the Academy Awards.

Despite the accolades, however, Hudson had always been shadowed by another Jennifer: Jennifer Holliday, who created the role of Effie in the original Broadway production of "Dreamgirls." Holliday was shut out of the hoopla surrounding the movie, and Hudson often seemed to go out of her way to downplay or criticize Holliday in interviews.

In her acceptance speech, Hudson gave a shout-out to Holliday as she left the stage. Holliday had performed the trademark ballad from the show, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," during the E! Entertainment Oscar pre-show.

Hudson extended her praise backstage to Holliday's costars in the original Broadway production. "They paved the way," she said. "Had they not done that unbelievable job, there would have never been a movie made."

Hudson is soon scheduled to record an album with veteran producer Clive Davis and is considering film projects.

-- Greg Braxton

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