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How Marilyn Monroe Was Misunderstood Then and Now

Regardless of a predictably effusive standing ovation on the Venice Worldwide Movie Pageant, the place it premiered in September, Andrew Dominik’s Blonde noticed its awards potential shortly downgraded by Oscar handicappers as soon as the opinions started posting. Whereas critics had reward for Ana de Armas’ fiercely dedicated efficiency as a bruised and battered Marilyn Monroe, the consensus concerning the movie itself — the Netflix launch finally scored a meager 42 p.c on Rotten Tomatoes — was that it failed to acknowledge Monroe’s intelligence, dedication and simple expertise.

Writing for Time.com, Stephanie Zacharek noticed, “Blonde permits no room for the real-life Marilyn’s multidimensionality, her capability for delight in addition to her deep depressions. Actors are at all times greater than the sum of their components, and Marilyn Monroe particularly, as each a performer and a persona, is just too advanced to be lowered to components within the first place. Her performances are a significant element of her story, and the one which’s most frequently uncared for.”

The movie, for instance, offers brief shrift to Monroe’s wonderful star flip within the 1959 traditional Some Like It Sizzling. We briefly see two scenes from the film being shot — in each circumstances, Monroe storms off the set, at one level yelling, “You suppose I’m too dumb to understand the joke’s on me.” After which there’s the film premiere itself, the place ghoulish followers, straight out of The Day of the Locust, threaten to devour her. There’s no appreciation for the truth that despite the fact that Monroe struggled in the course of the reportedly troublesome shoot within the wake of a miscarriage, she nonetheless managed to show in a triumphantly lighthearted efficiency that bubbles with a self-knowing exuberance.

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However whereas the Academy is now prone to penalize Blonde for not totally appreciating Monroe’s accomplishments, the reality of the matter is that in her lifetime, the Academy didn’t respect Monroe, both.

Though she was one of many reigning stars of the ’50s, Monroe made just one look on the Academy Awards throughout her profession. On the twenty third Oscars in 1951, she was invited to current the award for greatest sound recording. She was nonetheless one thing of a starlet at that time, having had a short half within the earlier 12 months’s All About Eve, the place she was launched by George Sanders’ acerbic Addison DeWitt as Miss Casswell, “a graduate of the Copacabana College of Dramatic Arts.” In introducing her to the viewers on the Pantages Theatre, Fred Astaire hailed not her expertise however her seems. Because the orchestra performed, “Oh, You Lovely Doll,” Monroe, who’d not but perfected her breathless Marilyn persona, walked briskly to the rostrum, and with out even trying up, learn off the listing of nominees earlier than opening the envelope and asserting the winner — the twentieth Century Fox sound division for All About Eve — after which shortly exited the stage.

Within the years that adopted, the Academy ignored her altogether. However elsewhere, Monroe earned BAFTA nominations as greatest overseas actress for each 1955’s The Seven Yr Itch and 1957’s The Prince and the Showgirl. She acquired one among Italy’s David di Donatello Awards for The Prince. And she or he was a Golden Globe nominee for 1956’s Bus Cease.

Some Like It Sizzling, an instantaneous crucial and business hit, provided the Academy a possibility to treatment that oversight. When Oscar nominations had been introduced, Some Like It Sizzling nabbed six, together with writing and directing noms for Billy Wilder. Monroe’s identify, nevertheless, was left off the listing.

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That may have been excused by the truth that the Academy usually ignored comedian performances — aside from the truth that Jack Lemmon was nominated as greatest actor. Apparently his donning drag couldn’t be ignored; what nobody appeared to comprehend on the time was that Monroe’s boop-boop-de-booping Sugar was each bit as a lot of a drag act. And as if to underscore that comedy wasn’t verboten, that very same 12 months, the Academy did see match to appoint Doris Day as greatest actress for the risqué romantic comedy Pillow Discuss.

In a 2018 listing of “The 20 Biggest Oscar Snubs Ever,” The Guardian ranked the Academy’s giving Monroe the chilly shoulder as No. 13, saying, “For sheer comedian pizzazz, she ought to have been a shoo-in for Some Like It Sizzling, though she wasn’t nominated — for that or anything.”

However then, the Academy may reply with a shrug, echoing Joe E. Brown’s well-known final line from the film, “Effectively, no person’s excellent.”

This story first appeared in a November stand-alone difficulty of The truestarz journal. To obtain the journal, click on right here to subscribe.

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