Elizabeth Berkley's mom asked if “Showgirls” role would win her an Oscar: 'It was not a strange thing to ask'

The actress said her mother's question wasn't too out of the ordinary given "every girl in Hollywood had fought for this role."

Elizabeth Berkley says her family had a much different reaction to her role in the 1995 erotic thriller Showgirls than the general public did at the time. 

The actress, who starred as Las Vegas dancer Nomi Malone, told a sold-out audience at a screening of the Paul Verhoeven-directed film at the Academy Museum’s David Geffen Theater on Wednesday that her mother was certain the project was going to put her in awards contention. 

“My mommy asked my agent at the time — I won’t mention his name — do you think that she could win an Oscar for this role?” Berkley said in video footage from the event.

Sharon Stone had just become the biggest star in the world and every girl in Hollywood had fought for this role, so it was not a strange thing to ask.”

“So, tonight, I’d like to thank the Academy,” Berkley teased as the crowd burst into laughter and applause. She then added, “…Museum.”

<p>Murray Close/Sygma/Getty</p> Elizabeth Berkley in 'Showgirls'

Murray Close/Sygma/Getty

Elizabeth Berkley in 'Showgirls'

While Showgirls was critically-panned upon its release, the film has gone on to become a cult classic over the years. At the event, Berkley reflected on the film’s initial reception and said that it “really pushed the boundaries at that time that now have been embraced — not misunderstood, but truly embraced.”

“And I’m so grateful that the film has found its way not only in your hearts but especially the LGBTQ community. Who stood by the film, sorry,” she said in another clip, becoming choked up as the crowd gave her a standing ovation. “You always believed, as did I, and for that I’m eternally grateful.”

Berkley previously told PEOPLE in 2020 that she felt like a "pariah" within the entertainment industry after the release of Showgirls, which was her first major film role. "It changed me," she said at the time. "It was a life moment, and I cannot help but say I would be a different person had I not gone through the depths of what it taught me."

She said that the film, which saw her receive Worst Actress and Worst New Star at the Golden Raspberry Awards, had "so much cruelty around it" at the time. "I was bullied. And I didn't understand why I was being blamed," she said. "The job as an actor is to fulfill the vision of the director. And I did everything I was supposed to do."

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