The 26-year-old British actress, who previously flirted with Oscar contention back in 2006 when she went toe-to-toe with Meryl Streep in 'The Devil Wears Prada,' has made another bid for Academy Award royalty, this time as a teenage queen in 'The Young Victoria.' Heavy might be the head that wears the crown, but leave it to Emily Blunt to display it radiantly with appropriate weight and finesse.
The 26-year-old British actress, who previously flirted with Oscar contention back in 2006 when she went toe-to-toe with Meryl Streep in 'The Devil Wears Prada,' has made another bid for Academy Award royalty, this time as a teenage queen in 'The Young Victoria.'
In director Jean-Marc Vallée's depiction of Julian Fellowes' script, Blunt plays Victoria, who in 1837, at the ripe old age of 18, ascends the throne and becomes queen of England. She may not be out of her teens, but Victoria was certainly not naive.
Over an early chess scene with a distant cousin and eventual husband Albert (Rupert Friend), Victoria is fully aware that she is being used as a pawn in a political game, and decides then and there that she needs to assert her role as the key player before she herself is ultimately played.
As the monarch, the headstrong Victoria quickly learns to tamper her emotion and control her surroundings. And as Victoria, Blunt smartly and skillfully asserts the young queen's way to power, oscillating believably between sheltered inexperience and able determination, and more than holding her own alongside acting heavyweights Miranda Richardson, Jim Broadbent and Paul Bettany.
Critics across the board have heralded Blunt's performance even when they were less enchanted with the movie itself. "The enchanting Ms. Blunt is the whole movie," wrote the New York Observer, "and it wouldn't register even a small bleep on the Richter scale without her. She puts the Vicki in the young Victoria." Entertainment Weekly raves that the actress "makes her twinkly ivory radiance fit the role."
"Blunt strikes me as the real deal," writes The New Yorker, "The little puff of relief that Victoria gives after addressing the Privy Council on the morning of her accession is, despite her duties, the exhalation of a free spirit."
A London native, Blunt first blipped on moviegoers' radars in the 2004 indie 'My Summer of Love.' And since her breakout, Golden Globe-nominated role in 'Prada,' which she all but stole from under star Anne Hathaway, Blunt has made memorable turns in movies such as 'Sunshine Cleaning,' 'Dan In Real Life' and 'Charlie Wilson's War.'
Blunt has also been nominated for a Golden Globe this year for her leading-lady role in 'Victoria,' which gives her a much-needed boost going into the Oscar race. And Academy voters have historically been quick to nominate royalty come Oscar time (see: Helen Mirren in 'The Queen,' Judi Dench in 'Shakespeare in Love,' Cate Blanchett in 'Elizabeth' and 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age,' Dench in 'Mrs. Brown'), which can only increase Blunt's chances of adding this jewel to her awards crown. Though really, the part of a determined young woman who bursts on the public scene and soon becomes a force to be reckoned couldn't have been so hard for the actress to play: The same could be said of Blunt herself.