What Might Have Been: Marilyn at the Oscars

This Sunday, Ana de Armas will take her place among the nominees at the 2023 Academy Awards in Los Angeles. Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh are the current favourites for Best Actress, in what may yet be the evening’s most divisive race.

Ana’s position is unique in two respects: firstly, her role in Blonde is the film’s sole Oscar nomination. She has been spared a further nomination for the Razzies, or Golden Raspberry Awards, lampooning the year’s worst cinematic moments. Nonetheless, the critically mauled Blonde leads the Razzie pack, with eight nominations, the BBC reports. We’ll hear those results on Saturday, just ahead of the Oscars.

Additionally, Ana is the second actress to be nominated as Best Actress for playing Marilyn Monroe, following Michelle Williams in the better received My Week With Marilyn (2011) – and Michelle has been nominated again this year, for The Fabelmans. As many have noted, Marilyn herself was never an Oscar nominee, and attended only once (see here.)

Writing for AV Club, Jorge Molina names Marilyn among 20 Great Actors Who’ve Never Been Nominated for an Academy Award, and suggests three of her most deserving roles.

“Should have been nominated for:
The Seven Year Itch, The Prince And The Showgirl, Some Like It Hot

How large does Marilyn Monroe loom on the landscape of Hollywood? Consider that two of this year’s Best Actress nominees have earned Oscar nominations for their portrayals of this American icon … Monroe herself, however, never secured a nomination from the Academy, despite her work in such cultural touchstones as The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot.”

Meanwhile, the Consequence Film staff ponder who might have won Oscars if comedy was given a fair shot, with Mary Siroky nominating Marilyn as Best Actress for Some Like It Hot.

“When discussing the story of Marilyn Monroe, there’s rarely enough of an emphasis on just how talented she was as a comedic actress. Some Like It Hot is rightfully considered a classic, and it’s hard to believe it would have had such longevity without Monroe. She’s simply luminous onscreen as Sugar Kane, and instantly memorable from her delivery in her introductory scene alone: ‘I don’t want you to think I’m a drinker. I can stop any time I want to – only I don’t want to.'”

And finally, three more suggestions from yours truly…

  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – a comedic tour de force which set the pace for Marilyn’s later work in The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot
  • Bus Stop – Her first ‘Method’ movie, and many thought it Oscar-worthy (including co-star Don Murray, who was nominated)
  • The Misfits – Marilyn’s haunting swansong, eclipsed by her split from Arthur Miller and the sudden death of Clark Gable

UPDATE: Ana de Armas lost out to Michelle Yeoh for the Best Actress award at last night’s Oscar ceremony. However, Blonde wasn’t forgotten at the Razzies, winning in the Worst Picture and Worst Adapted Screenplay categories.

Per the Hollywood Reporter, the Razzies have described Blonde as “misogynistic, salacious and fallacious” and said it “shamelessly exploits the memory of the late Marilyn Monroe.”

Among Blonde‘s six other nominations, director Andrew Dominik ‘and his issues with women’ lost out in the Worst Screen Couple slot to ‘Tom Hanks and his latex face’ (as Colonel Parker in Elvis.)