Jennifer Lopez, Mary Kay Place, Bong Joon Ho Accept Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

Nicholas White

Jennifer Lopez is truly enjoying the awards season ride.

“This is the industry. This is the town!” Lopez told Variety before accepting her Los Angeles Film Critics Association best supporting actress award on Saturday night. “’Hustlers’ was a movie we made in 29 days, on a low budget. I didn’t take any money for it because I believed in the material. I believed that it was a great role for me. To be standing here tonight is just, like, mind-blowing.”

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With Lopez nominated for a Critics Choice Award this Sunday, a SAG Award next Sunday and coming off a Golden Globe nomination last weekend for her supporting performance as veteran stripper Ramona, she was enthusiastic to accept the acting award honor at the annual ceremony, speaking to press on the red carpet at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City, Calif., staying for the event’s two-hour-plus duration, and bringing fiancé Alex Rodriguez as her date.

Although Lopez, one of the most successful entertainers in the world, worked for free on “Hustlers,” the movie has gone on to gross more than $157 million internationally on a $20 million budget.

“Getting this movie made was not only a labor of love, but one of sheer will and grit,” Lopez said while accepting her award. “I’ve been in this business for a while, longer than I’d like to admit. I’ve had the great privilege to work on many films with great directors, in some really interesting roles to play over the years. But there was something that spoke to me about this film and this role, not only at this time in my life, but at this time in our world. I was offered an opportunity to shine a light on women who are usually spinning on the periphery of the action. Complicated, multidimensional women, beautifully drawn, who are both heroes and victims of a system that preceded them. I immediately felt like I had to get this film made, no matter the obstacle.”

“Parasite” took top honors at Saturday’s Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, winning best picture, best director for Bong Joon Ho and best supporting actor for Song Kang Ho.

Bong, Song, Lee Jeong-eun, “Parasite” producer Kwak Sin-ae and members of Bong’s family, including his wife and son, attended the LAFCA Awards.

“Until now, we’ve mostly been included in the foreign-language film category,” Kwak told the crowd through a translator when accepting best picture with Bong. “To be here and win best director, best picture and best supporting actor has been such a great joy and honor. It’s so very bold.”

“Parasite” has been an awards season favorite, winning the best foreign-language film Golden Globe last weekend, and is nominated for seven Critics’ Choice Awards Sunday and outstanding performance by a cast at next Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards.

When accepting his LAFCA award for best director, Bong told the crowd a story of watching American filmmakers, including Sam Peckinpah and Martin Scorsese, on Korean television for American military stationed there while he grew up in South Korea, and the films’ effect on him later as a filmmaker.

“When I was around 9 or 10 on Friday nights, when my parents were sleeping, I would secretly come out to the living room and watch that channel,” Bong said through a translator. “At the time, because I couldn’t speak English, I would look at the images and reconstruct the narrative on my own.”

Mary Kay Place — who has a decades-long career as a supporting actress — was also on hand to accept her best actress award for her rare leading performance in last March’s “Diane.” Place also won best actress from the National Society of Film Critics for her complex performance as a mother dealing with a drug-addicted son, played by Jake Lacy.

“I went to codependent meetings,” Place told Variety of her preparation for the titular role. “I looked at a lot of drug addicts, documentaries, people shooting up and all kinds of things, online, which is very helpful. I did a great deal of research.”

“Pain & Glory” also took home two awards: best foreign-language film and best actor for Antonio Banderas, with director Pedro Almodóvar taking the stage to accept both. Netflix’s “I Lost My Body” also won two awards, for best animated film and best music/score for Dan Levy. Among the honorees at the ceremony were Jimmie Fails and Joe Talbot (new generation, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”), Barbara Ling (best production design for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”) and Claire Mathon (best cinematography for “Portrait of a Woman on Fire” and “Atlantics”).

Greta Gerwig accepted the career achievement award on behalf of trailblazing TV comic improv performer, screenwriter and director Elaine May, who did not attend. May, who won her first Tony Award last year for “The Waverly Project,” has been reported to direct her first movie since 1987’s “Ishtar,” titled “Crackpot,” with star Dakota Johnson.

“Thank you for my lifetime achievement award,” Gerwig told the crowd, passing along a message from May. “I look forward to many more.”

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