Michelle Williams a Winner at Independent Spirit Awards

Michelle Williams has been awarded an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress in Santa Monica, Calif. Saturday.

The award has come just ahead of the Academy Awards, where Williams has also received a nomination for her role in "My Week with Marilyn." Williams has been praised for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, in which she spent months learning to sing, talk, walk and even flirt like the iconic Hollywood actress.

Michelle Williams, best actress nominee for her role in (PHOTO:REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)Michelle Williams arrives at the 83rd Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, February 27, 2011.

Williams is one of the favorites for tonight's awards, and just last month she won a Golden Globe Award for her stunning performance. However, she faces stiff competition from fan favorite Meryl Streep, who has also been nominated for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

"My Week with Marilyn" was directed by Simon Curtis, and is based on the memoir of Colin Clark, who was an assistant director on the 1957 film "The Prince and the Showgirl." Clark showed Monroe around England when she was there shooting the movie with Laurence Olivier.

"I'm not a singer or a dancer," Williams told reporters recently whilst in New York. "I hadn't been on stage since I was 10 years old. And, in some ways because of that, I felt like a tremendous outpouring of joy. I felt like a little girl whose dreams came true for the first time. And I was able to tap into what I imagine made Marilyn Monroe so luminous in those singing and dancing numbers."


Williams has said of her efforts trying to portray Monroe: "What I experienced was when you're in that state, your critical mind has to turn off. There's no room for it because you are remembering steps and lyrics. It's like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time and maybe what makes the performances of hers so magical is that she's not thinking."

Williams has also said, "For me, for this, I had never done anything that required so much technical know-how. This was the first attempt that I had made, really the first time I had actually admittedly started from the outside in. Because I knew I was going to have a very, very long way to go. Where I, Michelle, have wound up after 31 years physically is very different from Marilyn. And so for the first time, I started externally, which was a switch-up for me, but similar to Marilyn, I suppose. I'm not trained. I just popped in to classes now and then, read lots of books, and at 31, have made some kind of amalgamations, some sort of hodgepodge of my own personal experience, what I know works for me in the moment, what I have learned from other actors, what I've picked up from books, and I certainly don't know what I would call it."