01/09/2012 09:17 am ET

Michelle Williams Thanks Marilyn Monroe At Palm Springs Film Festival

Now that she's got the wiggle down, she's making sure Marilyn's spirit lives on.

At the Palms Spring Film Festival this weekend, where Brad Pitt limped onstage to accept awards for "Moneyball" and "Tree Of Life," Michelle Williams faced another feat: making sure Marilyn Monroe got the honor she deserved.

"My only wish is that Marilyn herself could have been lucky enough to have experienced in her lifetime what I am experiencing tonight," Michelle said in her acceptance speech for the Desert Palm Achievement Award. "Despite her gifts as a performer, the likes of which we haven't seen with since, never got the recognition she deserved."

"I want to thank my director Simon Curtis for entrusting me with [Monroe's] beautiful soul, her valiant struggle, and her eternal heart," Williams continued. "And I want you to know that I accept this award on both of our behalfs."

Although Williams' impersonation of Marilyn came off as effortless, the actress made sure she had Monroe down perfectly before stepping into her shoes. "For me, the most crucial discovery -- the flash -- was that the widely accepted image of Marilyn Monroe was a character that Norma Jeane played," Williams told The Hollywood Reporter; Norma Jeane was Monroe's birth name. "Unless you study her and understand her a bit better than the commonly accepted view, one could miss who she was underneath that. Marilyn was a part she played."