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Emily Blunt: Horror Performances Deserve Awards Love, Including ‘Quiet Place’ Star Millicent Simmonds

Blunt picked up her very first SAG win for her work in the 2018 film, and as she tells IndieWire, she's eager to see more stars get accolades in a genre often overlooked by awards bodies.

Regan (Millicent Simmonds), left, and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) brave the unknown in "A Quiet Place Part II.”

Millicent Simmonds and Emily Blunt in “A Quiet Place Part II”

Photo Credit: Jonny Cournoyer

No one was more surprised by Emily Blunt’s 2019 Screen Actors Guild Award win than the actress herself. Blunt was in the running in two categories: Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role for her charming turn in “Mary Poppins Returns” and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for her work in husband John Krasinski’s smash hit “A Quiet Place.” She certainly wasn’t expecting to walk away with a statue for the horror film. It wasn’t just her category-mates, including Amy Adams, Margot Robbie, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz, but the expectation that awards bodies are resistant to heap praise on films often dismissed as “genre.”

Yet Blunt won, marking her first SAG win and further indication that those modes of thinking might be changing. The work, from Blunt and others, is only getting better. Why not give those performances the same affection and attention?

“I was shocked. I was absolutely blown backwards by it,” Blunt told IndieWire about her SAG win. “John and I laughed about it. Going into [the awards ceremony], he goes, ‘I think out of the five, you’re sixth.’ I remember just hearing my name get called out, I think I was leaning back, ready with my smile and [to] clap [for whoever won]. It was just shocking. I was so moved, and moved that people saw it as something more. It’s not just a horror movie.”

Blunt said that she and Krasinski were “really encouraged” by Paramount to participate in an awards campaign for the first film, and she hopes for similar attention on this go-round, particularly for her co-star Millicent Simmonds. After being delayed more than a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, “A Quiet Place Part II” hits theaters this week, complete with another go-for-broke Blunt performance plus a star turn from Simmonds, who takes center stage as Blunt’s character’s brave daughter Regan.

Asked about her thoughts on more horror performances being recognized by awards bodies, Blunt said, “That would be cool! Don’t you think Millie should be recognized for how extraordinary she is in this film? What a dynamite performance it is, what an impossible task she did.”

The actress pointed to both Simmonds and co-star Noah Jupe as the film’s linchpins. “I don’t even look at Noah and Millie as children  — they don’t allow for it — because they’re just so professional and on top of it and prepared and interesting and interested,” she said. “John has always said they saved us time, because they get it in the first take. The first take [with them] is usually going in the movie. They’re really extraordinary to work with. I’m like the fake mum. I said, ‘I’m really proud, as your fake mum, it’s real pride.'”

Blunt’s admiration for the work of fellow horror-movie actors extends beyond her co-stars. She pointed to performances by Florence Pugh in “Midsommar” and Toni Collette in “Hereditary” as being awards-worthy, along with Lupita Nyong’o in Jordan Peele’s “Us,” which garnered awards attention in 2019.

“I remember seeing Lupita in ‘Us,’ and I was like, ‘Wow,'” Blunt said. “When she does that turn and turns into her tethered, just chills. It gives me chills. That is the most beautifully crafted, specific, challenging thing that she did. Lights out, lights out.”

“A Quiet Place Part II” will open in theaters on Friday, May 28 from Paramount Pictures, it will begin streaming 45 days later on Paramount+.

As new movies open in theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic, IndieWire will continue to review them whenever possible. We encourage readers to follow the safety precautions provided by CDC and health authorities. Additionally, our coverage will provide alternative viewing options whenever they are available.

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