Oscar Impact: Latifah, Queen

Queen Latifah received rave reviews, an Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe nomination and a SAG nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal as Mama Morton in the 2002 Oscar-winning musical, “Chicago,” directed by Rob Marshall.

The nomination has boosted her career. Following “Chicago,” Latifah starred in Disney's box-office hit, “Bringing Down the House,” in which she showed great chemistry with co-star Steve Martin. On this movie, Latifah also acted as executive producer through her company, Flavor Unit Entertainment. Latifah most recently starred in and produced the “Barbershop” spin-off, “Beauty Shop.”

What's interesting about Latifah is that, though she was nominated for a supporting role, she now plays mostly leading role; in the past, Hollywood would typecast actress in either lead or supporting categories.

Latifah's screen career was launched by the success oif her first TV series, “Living Single,” which is now in syndication. She made her debut in Spike Lee's “Jungle Fever” (1991), and then appeared in “Set It Off,” “Living Out Loud,” opposite Holly Hunter, “Brown Sugar,” and “Bone Collector,” among others.

Latifah teamed with Grammy Award-winner Arif Mardin as well as Ron Farin to release her first vocal album, Queen LatifahThe Dana Owens Album, which has sold over a million copies and received a Grammy nomination.

The New Jersey native burst into the scene through rap with her ground breaking 1989 album, All Hail the Queen, which set the visual and contextual standards for female rappers. She has earned three Grammy nominations as well as a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rap Performance in 1994.

One of Hollywood's most powerful women–a performer, label president, author, and entrepreneur–Latifah has blossomed into a one-woman entertainment conglomerate. She formed with manager Sha-Kim Compere “Flavor Unit Entertainment,” which produced last fall's comedy “The Cookout” and “Beauty Shop.”