Actess Michelle Williams has taken the lead in a fight with Hollywood censors over their decision to peg her new film “Blue Valentine” with an NC-17 rating, one step less than an X-rating, which could hurt her chance for an Oscar this year.

The rating will severely limit the movie’s audience and could factor into Academy Award deliberations. Movie insiders were surprised by the rating.

“Our film does not depict violence, rape or torture, it’s simply a candid look at the difficulties couples face in sustaining their relationships over time,” Williams says.

“The decision unmasks a taboo in our culture that an honest portrayal of a relationship is more threatening than a sensationalized one.”
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Williams, 30, is currently in London filming “My Week With Marilyn,” in which she plays Marilyn Monroe.

Blue Valentine screened at the Sundance Film Festival to a receptive audience.

The film was originally set to shoot in spring of 2008, but producers delayed the filming out of respect for Williams, who was dealing with the death of ex-boyfriend Health Ledger. She has a daughter, Matilda, with the actor.

The film, which also stars Ryan Gosling, is set for release next month to get it in under the wire for Oscar consideration. So time is of the essence to get the rating change.

“The NC-17 is an absolute head-scratcher,” wrote Deadline Hollywood‘s Mike Fleming.

“I’m told the rating was given for a scene in which the characters played by Gosling and Williams try to save their crumbling marriage by spending a night away in a hotel.

“They get drunk and their problems intensify when he wants to have sex and she doesn’t, but will to get him off her back.

“The result is an upsetting scene that makes you squirm, but is an honest one that establishes clearly that this couple has nothing left and isn’t going to make it because love has turned into contempt,” he added.

The film contains virtually no nudity and no violence.

The movie examines the rise and fall of the marriage of Gosling and Williams’ characters over a number of years.

Check out the trailer: