For what it’s worth I think de Armas has done an excellent job of bringing Dominik’s version of Monroe (wounded, broken, extremely vulnerable) to life. She gives it her all, and I would have no argument with her being nominated for Best Actress. Nobody would.
I wrote a while back that Blonde is “artful torture porn.” Because it is.
I also agreed that her performance as the relentlessly brutalized and victimized Monroe is analogous to Martin Scorsese‘s The Last Temptation of Christ. Excerpt: “I’m thinking not just of the incessant dismissals and degradations and spiritual uncertainties, but the anguished and agonized relationship between the main protagonist and the elusive ‘father.’”
Variety‘s Clayton Davis believes, with at least some sincerity, that de Armas is Netflix’s strongest acting contender and that her performance has the “best shot for Latina Oscar attention.” (Should Best Latina Performance become a new Oscar category? If Clayton wasn’t a Variety columnist he could become a top-tier Oscar strategist and lobbyist on behalf of BIPOC contenders.)
But let’s be honest — Dominik’s honest but demeaning remarks about Monroe in a 9.27 Sight & Sound interview by Christina Newland have hurt the film’s Oscar chances, and possibly even damaged de Armas’s campaign.
Actually it’s not so much the interview itself as Twitter-ized outtakes from her Zoom chat with Dominik that have caused all the trouble.
Fascinating Dominik quote: “Blonde is supposed to leave you shaking. Like an orphaned rhesus monkey in the snow. It’s a howl or pain or rage.”
Consider the following and post whatever reactions that may come to mind:
Friendo: “Shocked by Dominick’s comments. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes wasn’t p.c. enough for him? He surely killed whatever Oscar chances Blonde had (which were probably slim).
HE: “He certainly did no favors for Ana de Armas.”
Friendo: “AdA’s performance was the film’s only real chance for Oscars. Dominik basically said [that] Marilyn Monroe’s films are trash. Do you think Ana de Armas will take kindly to that? She must be incensed.”
HE: “I would imagine so, yes. Then again there are only four Monroe films I really like — Some Like It Hot, The Misfits, The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve. Everything she made in color is problematic in one way or another. I’m not a big fan of her psycho-girl films. Billy Wilder understood her better than anyone else. I love bathing in that 1953 Howard Hawks Technicolor musical (shot in 1.37!) called Gentlemen Prefer blondes, but it IS, to be fair, a thin confection. And it IS, to be candid, about a couple of dishy, well-dressed floozies looking to land the highest bidder in exchange for great sex. Which, in Dominik’s view. makes them little more than ‘well-dressed whores.’ He’s may not be technically wrong if you want to be hard-nosed about it, but he’s also not very gracious or appreciative of the mood of that semi-intoxicating film.”