Ana de Armas’ story is one of those that, as Spaniards, we find hard to believe. Just as it happened with Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz or Javier Bardem, we still find it hard to imagine that talent exported from here (or, well, in this case, from Cuba) is projected to the top of Hollywood. However, this is the latest proof that we have a more than worthy school in our country.
Ana de Armas could win the Oscar for Best Actress at the 2023 ceremony. And she can do it with a not inconsiderable role: for being none other than Marilyn Monroe in the Netflix exclusive film Blonde, directed by Andrew Dominik. The film has been criticized for its dark take on the star, but everyone agrees on one thing: Ana de Armas’ role is dazzling.
We can only wait to see if she beats her two major competitors in her category: Cate Blanchett -who already has two awards- and Michelle Yeoh, whose performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once is worthy of admiration. However, Ana de Armas remains one of the favorites, and no wonder.
From living in poverty to an Oscar nomination
Ana de Armas was born in 1988 as the youngest of three siblings in Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba. Despite what it may seem, her family was humble: her father worked as a teacher and her mother was an accountant. However, from a very young age, the actress showed a great interest in the performing arts, and her family supported her as much as they could.
De Armas enrolled in drama school in her hometown. And, at 14, she decided she wanted to be an actress and began taking acting classes. But Cuba was too small for someone who wanted to go as far as possible, so in 2022 she moved to Madrid, Spain, to continue her training. The actress has explained on more than one occasion that her family had to sell their house in Cuba in order to finance her education in Spain. An effort that, as we have seen, was well worth it.
As soon as she arrived in Madrid, she started working to earn money as a model, in addition to constantly auditioning for television and film. But when the whole world got to know her is when she was signed by Globomedia to play Carol in El Internado, a series of Antena 3 in which she stood out from the first moment.
Although the series was not the pinnacle of quality, De Armas won an Ondas award in 2008 for her role. And little by little she was signed for films such as Una rosa de Francia, Mentiras y gordas or El callejón. But her years in Spain, again, were too short. And in 2014 she decided to move to Los Angeles to continue her career in Hollywood.
Quickly, opportunities arose for the Cuban actress. In 2014 she made her Hollywood debut in the film Hearts of Steel, directed by David Ayer and starring Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf. Interestingly, De Armas played a young German girl named Emma, who helps a group of American soldiers at the end of World War II.
Her performance in Hearts of Steel caught the attention of Hollywood film critics and casting directors. In 2015, De Armas was cast to play Julia, the wife of Keanu Reeves’ character in Knock Knock, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
In 2016, the actress starred in Hands of Stone, a biopic about Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán. And in 2017 came another of the roles of her life: Blade Runner 2049, by Denis Villenueve. Her sublime and mystical performance once again opened many doors for her and put her on Hollywood’s radar.
It was in 2019, when Rian Johnson cast her as the lead in Daggers in the Back, that she took the last big step she had left, beyond her addition in the latest James Bond. And while she had a short but intense relationship with Ben Affleck, she continued to make it clear that she is a great actress with an impressive future ahead of her.
Blonde has been the culmination of a career that started from the bottom and has undoubtedly reached the top. It doesn’t matter if she wins or not, she is already the new Marilyn Monroe of Hollywood, and only she can say that.
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