Ana de Armas Is the First Cuban-American to Score Best Actress Oscar Nomination
In what was already a head-to-head race for Best Actress nominations at this year’s Oscars, most people did not expect Ana de Armas to get a nomination for her role in Andrew Dominik’s controversial film “Blonde.” The controversial, NC-17 film was immediately divisive following its debut on Netflix.
However, the Academy is celebrating de Armas’ powerhouse performance, anyway. Her nomination marks the first time a Cuban-American actress is up for Best Actress at the Academy Awards.
Ana de Armas is making history at the 2023 Academy Awards
The only other Cuban actors nominated in Oscar history were Andy Garcia for his 1990 performance in “The Godfather: Part III” and Mercedes Ruehl for her work in “The Fisher King,” which earned her a Best Supporting Actress win.
In an Instagram post, de Armas wrote, “Wow! I’m over the moon. Thank you for all your love and support, for all your messages, calls, and videos. My heart’s never been fuller! What an unbelievable day, what a beautiful honor.”
In what is one of the more unbelievable full-circle moments in Hollywood history, de Armas is up against “Fabelmans” actress Michelle Williams, who received an Oscar nomination in 2012 for her performance as, you guessed it, Marilyn Monroe.
The support for “Blonde” is much less enthusiastic
Despite a number of upset nominations that had people accusing the Academy of going with safe options instead of the year’s best performances, de Armas’ nomination stands out as a truly risky move. The reaction to “Blonde” was the definition of divisive. Some people praised the film for being bold and uncompromising.
However, many others denounced it as disrespectful, cruel, and even misogynistic. While most people praised de Armas for her fearless performance — one that received a Golden Globe nomination, as well — it’s a completely different story when it comes to the movie, itself.
In fact, just a day before de Armas’ nomination, “Blonde” received an earth-shattering eight nominations at the 2023 Razzie Awards, a ceremony “celebrating” the year’s worst films. The film’s lead actress did not receive a Worst Actress nomination, though.
Some are even blaming the actress for the year’s biggest snubs
Despite the Academy’s attempt to rectify the Hollywood Foreign Press Association‘s blunder in not nominating Michelle Yeoh for her work in “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” some outspoken social media users are mad at Ana de Armas, of all people, for taking the spotlight away from Viola Davis in “The Woman King,” Keke Palmer in “Nope,” and Danielle Deadwyler in “Till.”
The “Blonde” actress is an odd target, especially in a category that has Michelle Williams nominated for the fifth time. Additionally, the little-known performance from Andrea Riseborough in “To Leslie” felt like a random choice. However, the criticism may be less about de Armas herself than the movie she starred in.
Even still, it’s not a good look to criticize one of just two women of color in the entire category. The Academy undoubtedly messed up by not nominating any of the incredible performances from Black actresses in 2022.
But why is Ana de Armas to blame?
Still, history is history and Ana de Armas is making it
The truth is, the controversy surrounding “Blonde” will eventually die down. Like every controversial movie before it, it will be vilified, forgotten, and rediscovered years later. Whatever the overall opinion is of the film and the people who made it, de Armas’ nomination is a big deal.
Latinos are woefully underrepresented at the Academy Awards. Despite Ariana DeBose’s historic win last year, the opportunities for Latinos to win Oscars are few and far between. The Best Director category is a bit more generous in this regard, but Latino actors are still fighting for the coveted spots in each category.
For that reason alone, de Armas’ nomination is worth acknowledging.