Michelle Williams Deserves an Oscar for Her Britney Spears Audiobook Performance

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Pop star Britney Spears’ debut memoir, The Woman in Me, has finally arrived after weeks of early leaks and stunning revelations: Spears aborted a pregnancy conceived with ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake because he wasn’t interested in having children; Adderall was her drug of choice during her hard-partying days; her diet boiled down to just chicken and canned vegetables during her conservatorship days. And on and on.

Improbably, however, the element of the book that’s gaining the most attention at present is the audiobook version, which is voiced not by Spears herself—the singer says, in a brief introduction to the audiobook, that writing the story was so overwhelming, narrating it would have been too much—but by Academy Award-nominated actress Michelle Williams.

Known for her moody turns in dramatic fare like Blue Valentine and Manchester by the Sea, Williams might seem like an unlikely pick to serve as a mouthpiece for an iconic pop star, but leave all your doubts at the door. Williams crushes the performance, and Twitter has already taken notice.

In particular, a clip of Williams reading a section in which Spears pokes fun at Timberlake for getting “excited” to meet the rapper Ginuwine has gone viral.

“Walking our way was a guy wearing a huge blinged-out medallion. He was flanked by two giant security guards,” Williams, as Spears, reads. “J got all excited and said so loud, ‘Oh yeah. Fo’ shiz. Fo’ shiz. Ginuwine, what’s up homie?’”

Williams fully leans into the moment with no audible embarrassment, to her credit.

Later, Williams seethes with venom as she narrates Spears observing of her little sister Jamie-Lynn Spears: “Well, when I tell you she was a total bitch, I’m not exaggerating.”

The unexpected pairing of Spears and Williams is so impactful, many are already calling the shot that the actress will be awarded the 2023 Grammy Award for Best Audio Book, Narration & Storytelling Recording.

It’s not out of the question: in years past, the accolade has gone to Viola Davis, Michael J. Fox, and Carrie Fisher for self-narrating their own autobiographies. Barack Obama has won the award twice.

For your consideration, Grammy Awards: Instead of forking over the audiobook prize to another stiff politician, why not give a gold star to Williams for mocking Timberlake’s outdated and extremely cringey blaccent? She deserves it.

More Britney Book Reveals: Diane Sawyer’s Ambush and a Near-Deadly Paparazzi Chase

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