'Dreamgirl' Jennifer Hudson's Star Is on the Rise

ByABC News via logo
January 4, 2007, 9:29 AM

Jan. 4, 2007 — -- She may have been voted off "American Idol," but Jennifer Hudson's star hasn't stopped rising.

Hudson's showstopping role in her first movie, "Dreamgirls," recently won her a Golden Globe nomination. Now, she's got Oscar buzz swirling around her.

Hudson recently sat down with ABC's Robin Roberts to talk about "Dreamgirls" and her newfound fame.

"I'm going through the motions every day. Just experiencing it every day, and I can't believe it or understand what's going on right now," she said of becoming a celebrity.

Though "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell panned her in 2004, saying singing wasn't her forte, Hudson's not about to flaunt her success.

"It's not about that for meI don't believe in looking back. That's in the past now," she said. "It's a part of my history, I'm proud of it."

In "Dreamgirls," Hudson plays Effie White, the overweight lead singer of the Dreamettes who is dumped by a ruthless manager to push a less talented (but thinner and prettier) member, played by Beyonce Knowles, into the spotlight. Hudson said being voted off "American Idol" helped her understand White's rejection.

"I have never experienced anything of the extent that Effie went through, but everybody has been rejected. So, I used that. I was like, 'Oh, that's what I've been rejected from,'" Hudson said.

While Knowles had to drop 20 pounds for her part, Hudson had to gain weight for "Dreamgirls." Unlike many women seeking fame in Hollywood, Hudson has been vocal about her issues with body image.

"[Weight] is definitely a part of the industry, but it keeps you separated, and helps you stand out from other people," Hudson said. "Everybody is little, why do I have to be little, too? They need some normal-sized people around here, so that doesn't bother me at all."

For Hudson, putting on weight wasn't the most difficult part of "Dreamgirls" -- putting on her character's attitude was. Director Bill Condon helped Hudson transform into her role.