Oscar Actors: Hawkins, Sally (Blue Jasmine, The Shape of Water)

Sally Hawkins has been nominated for two Oscar Awards, Best Supporting Actress for Blue Jasmine in 2013, and Best Actress for The Shape of Water in 2017.

Having enjoyed working with Sally Hawkins on Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream, where she played Colin Farrell’s girlfriend, Allen thought that Sally Hawkins would be a great choice for the pivotal role of Jasmine’s sister Ginger.

“Sally is a fabulous actress,” Allen says. “She’s real all the time; she’s never actressy.” Hawkins has high praise for Allen’s no-nonsense directing style: “Woody doesn’t want to deal with chit chat. He just wants you to turn up and for your character to be fully formed and ready to work.”

As a long-time admirer of Cate Blanchett’s work, Hawkins was thrilled at the opportunity to play her sister. “Cate has no ego,” she says. “She just wants to investigate life, create incredibly rich layers, and make the work as good as it possibly can be. I believed every single moment of her as Jasmine and being so close to it, just saw this woman completely trapped and lost and alone. It was a highly tuned performance—it’s like the strings on a guitar being tightened, tightened, tightened, until she snapped. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to take that character home with you at night.” Says Blanchett: “Sally’s got the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. I clung to her like a life raft.”

Given Jasmine’s emotional state, BLUE JASMINE might seem an apt title “At first we named it “Jasmine French,” says Allen, “but then, because of the score we felt BLUE JASMINE best characterized the mood of the picture.” Jasmine also references “Blue Moon” several times as the song that was playing when she met Hal—a tune whose famous lyric “you saw me standing alone” resonates with the scene where Jasmine meets Dwight.

Unlike many of Allen’s recent films, which are set against some of the most iconic images of their respective cities, BLUE JASMINE doesn’t showcase the most picturesque aspects of San Francisco (a brief view of the Golden Gate Bridge from a Marin hilltop being a notable exception). For the most part the San Francisco scenes are set in the workaday world inhabited by Ginger. The New York sequences, on the other hand, take you to Fifth Avenue and shops like Fendi and Jimmy Choo, offering the kind of luxury goods that define Jasmine during her New York years.