Watch Jennifer Lopez's Inspiring Acceptance Speech at the People's Choice Awards
The actress was surprised with video messages from her kids, Renée Zellweger, and Nicole Kidman.
On Sunday, Jennifer Lopez, 51, took home the People's Icon of 2020 trophy during the E! People's Choice Awards, presented by Armie Hammer. Before giving her acceptance speech, the star was surprised with video messages from Renée Zellweger, Nicole Kidman, and her kids, Max and Emme.
"Congratulations, my friend," Zellweger said in her message. "Like everybody watching tonight, I am a fan and I have long admired your work and your uncompromising work ethic and your beautiful, authentic audacity made of passion, vision, determination, self-respect, and courage. If anybody tried to tell you why you shouldn't, you were already busy proving them wrong. And if anybody said, 'Well, you know that's just not really how it's done,' you challenged until what you had imagined was exactly how it's done. You have been pushing boundaries all over the place for decades, and this past year, with Hustlers and your shows and your music and your family and your advocacy empowering women and your unbelievable Super Bowl halftime show — well, you just raised the bar into the stratosphere! You are a triple-threat creative visionary, you are an inspiration, and you are certainly an icon."
Kidman also congratulated Lopez on her honor. "You are the true definition of an icon," the actress said. "I have known you for a long time now and I have watched you go from strength to strength, but I will never forget bringing my sister to your Vegas show. You came off stage after two hours and Benny [Medina] was standing there and I said, 'Are you sure she's OK? We don't want to interrupt.' And he's like, 'Come on in,' and you were standing there as though you could go on again."
Lopez began her acceptance speech by talking about how this year has been unlike any other. "Man, 2020 was no joke, right?" she said. "Before 2020 we were obsessing about winning this award or getting nominated for that award, or we were caught up on who sold the most records or who had the biggest box-office opening, or crazy stuff like did we get the newest drop or the newest sneakers before everybody else. But not this year. This year was the great leveler."
She continued by sharing what she has learned from the difficulties of this year. "It showed us what mattered, what didn't," she said. "And for me, reinforced what matters most: People, all of us, together. Helping each other, loving each other, being kind to each other. And the importance of that connection, that human touch. And I realize it's what I strive for in everything I do. To reach people, to touch people. I believe that's what we all want, those shared experiences to know that we're not in this alone. Your belief and your faith in me motivates me to keep going and sometimes when I'm tired or beaten down, like a lot of us have been this year, it's my family, friends, my babies, and my fans, you guys, who have lifted me up when I couldn't lift myself. And I am so grateful to have you, to have that in my life."
Later in the speech, the star got emotional talking about some of the obstacles she's faced throughout her career. "As a Latina and as a woman, we have to work twice as hard to get the opportunities. Sometimes my big dreams and my ambitions, it made the people around me nervous," she said. "People would say, 'You're a dancer, you can't be an actress. You're an actress, what, you want to sing? You're an artist, you won't be taken seriously as a businesswoman.' It was like the more that they said I couldn't, the more that I knew that I had to. So now here I stand so very grateful knowing that the true measure of my success is not in box-office numbers or records sold, but from the love that I feel from all of you."
She ended the speech by saying that her greatest hope is that her success encourages women to dream big. "The true measure is inspiring girls of all ages and of all colors, from all around the world, to know that you can be anything you want and do as many things as you want, and to be proud of who you are no matter where you come from," she said. "I want them to know their dreams are limited only by their imagination and determination, and their willingness to never give up. If I have touched you or them in any small way, then this is the greatest award that I could ever receive. I accept this award with great humility and gratitude, and with the hope that we can begin to heal as a country and stand together united and proud, and in harmony."