The role of Mary Poppins brought Julie Andrews a Best Actress Oscar in 1964, so the stakes were high for Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel 54 years in the making. When director Rob Marshall called to offer her the part she recalls that “the air changed in the room because you are just instantly bombarded by these thoughts of how iconic she is, and what she’s meant to me, to everybody, and the searing imprint she’s had on people’s lives.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Blunt above.
SEE Off she goes! Emily Blunt flies up Best Actress Oscar rankings after first ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ screenings
This follow-up finds Poppins once again teaching the Banks clan — the now grown-up children and their own kids — some valuable life lessons in the midst of a family crisis with the help of a little magic and a few catchy songs. But rather than imitate Andrews, Blunt hoped to “carve out my own space for myself” and “do my own version of her.”
It certainly helped that this was a sequel instead of a remake. The original “should just be treasured and left as it is. Yet there were seven books written” by P.L. Travers, “so there’s room for more magic. There’s room for more adventure, and this is the next chapter.”
SEE Lin-Manuel Miranda (‘Mary Poppins Returns’): Watching Rob Marshall direct ‘was film school for me’ [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]
Blunt has yet to compete at the Oscars, but she has been a frequent presence elsewhere on the awards circuit. She won a Golden Globe as Best TV Supporting Actress for “Gideon’s Daughter” and was also nominated for the films “The Devil Wears Prada” (for which she also contended at BAFTA), “The Young Victoria,” “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” and “Into the Woods.” Her role in “The Girl on the Train” brought her BAFTA and SAG bids as Best Actress.
She could find herself with an additional Oscar nom this year too thanks to her performance in the horror hit “A Quiet Place,” directed by and co-starring her husband, John Krasinski. Blunt is campaigning as a supporting actress for that role, meaning she could join an elite group of performers who have snagged two Academy Award bids in the same year.
The original “Mary Poppins” was an Oscar juggernaut, winning 5 of its 13 nominations. Will the sequel recapture that awards magic? “Mary Poppins Returns” arrives in theaters on December 19.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.
SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions