Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Why Ana de Armas May Not Be The Only Oscar Nomination For “Blonde”

Blonde,” one of 2022’s most controversial films, is coming back into the awards conversation at the right time. Oscar pundits mostly saw Ana de Armas’ portrayal of Marilyn Monroe receiving a nomination at the Golden Globes as a kind of fluke, a sign that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was still clinging to the old ways by handing out bizarre nominations in the name of getting the biggest names in the room. That’s not to say that Ana de Armas’ performance was unworthy. Though I largely disliked and even despised “Blonde,” de Armas stood out as a clear highlight of the film, a fully committed portrayal of a tortured soul in need of guidance. If she can nab an Oscar nomination for Best Actress – a prospect looking more and more likely after her SAG nomination in the same category – it would be wholly deserved in my book.

But it’s not outside the realm of the possibility to include “Blonde’s” nominations in some craft categories as well. Netflix is likely scrambling to put the film out to as many Academy voters as possible in the final days of voting – though it will still rank lower in their list of priorities after “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Glass Onion.” Those that have seen the film know that its crafts are on par with Ana de Armas’s performance. For example, Chayse Irvin’s cinematography could have had a shot at competing for a nomination in a less crowded year.

The film ranked among the ten short-listed films in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category, where it stands the greatest shot at landing a non-acting nomination. Monroe’s instantly-recognizable appearance was perfectly recreated from her early beginnings to her untimely death. Not to mention the early montage showcasing Monroe’s modeling career, where the makeup team had to create a series of varied looks. Ana de Armas’ Cuban accent may have peaked through in her impersonation of Monroe, but the hair and makeup team left no doubt. And a nomination for “Blonde” in the Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild awards for Best Period and/or Character Make-Up proves that the film has industry support. Of course, the film will have to beat out other contenders like “Babylon,” and “Crimes of the Future,” which both, despite their own mixed reviews, received more favorable reviews than “Blonde.” And “Blonde” is largely absent of the showy prosthetics and old-age makeup that the branch tends to favor.

Not only did the film require recreating some of the most iconic looks of Marilyn Monroe’s life, but it did so as well for other notable figures of the 20th century like Arthur Miller and Joe DiMaggio. From Monroe’s “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” dress to the famous “Seven Year Itch” get-up (and more), “Blonde’s” costumes are a masterclass in re-purposing classic Hollywood imagery. And the Academy generally loves awarding period-centric films in the category, with recent winners including “Little Women,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and “The Great Gatsby,” plus similar films that also received nominations. The threshold here will be more difficult for “Blonde” though, as its competition includes likely favorites from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (it should also be noted that Ruth E. Carter won for that film’s prequel as well), “Elvis,” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” – not to mention being left off the Costume Designers Guild nominations entirely.

While it would not be surprising to see “Blonde” completely snubbed on Oscar nomination morning, it’s not impossible to see it is one of the biggest surprises by receiving multiple nominations when most Oscar predictors only see an outside chance of one for its biggest star. Not since “Blue Valentine” in 2010 has any film rated NC17/X received an Oscar nomination. And “Blonde’s” 42% rating on Rotten Tomatoes would rank it as one of the lowest projected nominees overall. If early precursors are any indication, we could be looking at a nomination disruptor that would push out more popular films, warts (moles?), and all.

Which nominations do you see “Blonde” receiving tomorrow?¬†Please let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account and check out our latest Oscar nomination predictions here.

You can follow Ben and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @themoviestate

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