What Movies Has Jennifer Hudson Been In?

Jennifer Hudson is now quite a famous name, but she has worked her way to the top. While she initially earned fame by getting 7th place in the reality singing competition ‘American Idol’, she is most known for her work in the movies at present. 

Hudson still continues to be a strong name in the world of music as well, and has earned accolades for both acting and singing. While she has had her share of bad luck along the way–MTV describes her as the 6th greatest contestant on ‘American Idol’ and said that her entry was the most shocking one on the show. 

With all these ups and downs, Jennifer Hudson now has a decent filmography under her belt. Let’s now have a look at some of the top movies she’s worked in:

1. Dreamgirls (2006)

Dreamgirls (2006)

This movie was a romantic musical drama, and marked the film debut of Jennifer Hudson. Today, it might be viewed in the category of a classic movie. 

This was a kind of dream project come true for Hudson, with co-stars like Beyoncé also gracing the screen with her. The writer and doctor for this movie was Bill Condon, and the story follows the rise of a group of female black singers. Since this film was set in the beginning of the ‘60s, the group had to face a lot of prejudices and discrimination. 

The role of Effie White was performed brilliantly by Hudson here; she won several awards with this effort. White was a character that had to hit rock bottom after a major failure, and finally found redemption. The other girls were also a major hit; you can read here about where the Dreamgirls are now

Among the accolades were a BAFTA Awards, a Screen Actors’ Guild Award, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe Award. 

At this point, Hudson was already a household name thanks to her successful stint on reality TV. After the breakthrough acting role, however, she became a double-threat artist for both recording studios as well as mainstream Hollywood works. Unlike Hudson, there were some movie stars who decided to suddenly switch careers

2. Sex and the City (2008) 

Sex and the City (2008) 

After her Oscar win, Hudson was named as part of the big-screen adaptation of the successful HBO series ‘Sex and the City’. While the movie itself is rated by critics as being average at best, just that inclusion was enough to tell audiences how far Hudson had come. 

The movie continued the main arcs of the television series, following Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) and her friends in New York City. Hudson wasn’t part of the close girls group, but she played Louise, who was Carrie’s assistant. Louise was a positive character, playing a big role in helping Carrie whenever she was down. 

3. The Secret Life of Bees (2008) 

The Secret Life of Bees (2008) 

This highly rated movie was based on the novel of the same name, written by Sue Monk Kidd. It’s a coming-of-age period piece which showcased a troubled little girl with a neglectful and possibly abusive single parent. After escaping this limiting environment, the girl finds a whole new world that’s rife with the magic of bees and honey. 

Another big name is joined with Jennifer Hudson’s here; that of Dakota Fanning. Fanning was a very well-known child star at the time, and played the role of Lily Owens (the 14 year old protagonist) very well. After escaping with her colored caregiver Rosaleen (played by Hudson), the pair went to the Boatwright property. There, a team of independent and strong black women took them in. Since the women had a reputable beekeeping business, both Rosaleen and Lily soon became a part of that world as well. 

4. The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete (2013) 

The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister & Pete (2013)

This movie is probably the most highly-rated one from Jennifer Hudson’s filmography. Created by George Tillman Jr., this film followed two youths who live in poverty and suddenly have their mothers taken away from them. That summer, the pair is forced to stand on their own two feet and become men very quickly. 

Hudson plays the part of one of the mothers here, with a 13 year old boy named Mister (played by Skylan Brooks). Apparently, the mother was negligent and got taken away. Her son pairs up with his best friend, and the two start living a sort of wildlife; searching for food, fending for themselves, etc. They also wait for a casting call so that they can work their way out of poverty and turn their lives around. 

5. Chi-Raq (2015) 

Chi-Raq (2015) 

Jennifer Hudson is the lead here, with a large ensemble cast starring Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, and Angela Bassett. Chi-Raq is an adaptation of Lysistrata by Aristophanes, one that is set in more modern times. 

The setting of this movie is in Chicago, Illinois, and the premise is that of a community uprising after a child was killed due to a drive-by shooting. 

The movie here links gang violence within the city as being much like a warzone within Iraq. The result was a protesting movement among the local blacks. Eventually, their efforts resulted in a lot of changes within the police force as well as members of Chicago gangs. 

6. Fragments (2008) 

Fragments (2008) 

The original title of this movie was ‘Winged Creatures’. It explores the PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) of a survivor group. The group had witnessed a mass shooting within a restaurant in Los Angeles. 

Here, Hudson’s co-stars include Dakota Fanning again, along with Kate Beckinsle, Guy Pearce, Forest Withaker, and Josh Hutcherson. After the shooting that turned their lives upside down, the movie follows the various group members and how they adjust afterwards. Hudson’s role here is that of Kathy Archambault, who was the daughter of a driving instructor played by Forest Whitaker. She helps her father to deal with the tragedy while also juggling everything else in her life. 

7. Winnie Mandela (2011)

Winnie Mandela (2011)

The biopic about Winnie Mandela (the second wife of Nelson Mandela) is a powerful tale in its own right. However, Hudson’s portrayal of the woman manages to convey her larger-than-life figure without much of a compromise. 

This movie is also about the humanitarian efforts of Winnie Mandela, telling the audience about her life before and after seeing Nelson Mandela. It also deals with her difficult childhood and the terrible time she had spent adjusting to the idea of her husband being imprisoned for the long term. 

Winnie was also subjected to a lot of bullying, harassment, and even death threats. She was in solitary confinement for around a year, and soldiered on ahead with the anti-apartheid movement and the loud peace message from her husband. 


These movies all show Jenifer Hudson in strong roles that showcase her talent. Whether she was a lead character or a supporting one, Hudson certainly seems to have given it her all. Fans of the actress love to watch her movies over and over again. If any of the above offerings sound intriguing, you might want to schedule one of these films for your next Netflix binge. 

If you’re more into musical talents, here’s a list of original songs that managed to win an Oscar