SAG Awards nominee profile: Ana de Armas (‘Blonde’) embodies Marilyn Monroe

Although Marilyn Monroe never got the chance to achieve Screen Actors Guild Awards recognition, her legacy has been honored by the organization in the form of multiple Best Actress notices for women who have embodied her on the big screen. 11 years after Michelle Williams was nominated for playing Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn,” Ana de Armas has earned a spot in the current lead female lineup for her take on the classic movie star in “Blonde.” Since SAG voters have feted several portrayals of iconic actors before, she stands a good chance of going all the way.

De Armas, Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”), and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) make up a first-time nominee majority in this year’s Best Film Actress SAG Award lineup, although Yeoh is a past ensemble contender for “Crazy Rich Asians” (2019). The other two lead female slots are filled by Cate Blanchett (“TAR”) and Viola Davis (“The Woman King”), who have collectively amassed 29 SAG Award nominations and nine wins over the last 24 years. Davis has taken this particular prize twice for “The Help” (2012) and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (2021), while Blanchett snagged the 2014 trophy for “Blue Jasmine.”

“Blonde” is a faithful adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’s sprawling biographical fiction novel of the same name, which covers all 36 years of Monroe’s life story. Throughout the film, the actress (who was born Norma Jeane Mortenson) experiences increasingly greater fame, which only exacerbates her intense feelings of loneliness and unhappiness. As her sex appeal is continually placed well before her talent and humanity, she moves closer and closer to her tragic fate.

The Cuban-born De Armas’s potential Best Actress victory would make her the category’s very first Latina winner, as well as its first champion to originate from outside of the United States since Blanchett (Australia) became that group’s fifth member nine years ago. Those who preceded her were Charlize Theron (South Africa, “Monster,” 2004), Helen Mirren (England, “The Queen,” 2007), Julie Christie (British India, “Away from Her,” 2008), and Natalie Portman (Jerusalem, “Black Swan,” 2011).

De Armas would also be the 10th woman to win this SAG Award for playing a real person. Aside from Theron (as Aileen Wuornos), Mirren (as Queen Elizabeth II), and Davis (as Ma Rainey), this list includes Susan Sarandon as Helen Prejean (“Dead Man Walking,” 1996), Julia Roberts as Erin Brockovich (“Erin Brockovich,” 2001), Reese Witherspoon as June Carter (“Walk the Line,” 2006), Sandra Bullock as Leigh Anne Tuohy (“The Blind Side,” 2010), Renée Zellweger as Judy Garland (“Judy,” 2020), and Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” 2022).

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “SAG Awards nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2023 contenders in film and TV.

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