Oscar Actors: Blanchett, Cate–Background, Career, Awards

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Catherine Elise Blanchett AC (May 14, 1969) is an Australian actress, producer, and theatre director. Regarded as one of the best actresses of her generation, she is known for her wide range of roles in blockbusters, independent films, and on the stage.

She has received numerous accolades, including two OscarAwards, three Golden Globe Awards, and three British Academy Film Awards.

After graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Blanchett began her acting career on the Australian stage, taking on roles in Electra in 1992 and Hamlet in 1994. She came to international attention for portraying Elizabeth I in the drama film Elizabeth (1998), for which she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress and received her first of seven Academy Award nominations.

Her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator (2004) earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and she later won the Academy Award for Best Actress for playing a neurotic former socialite in Woody Allen’s comedy-drama Blue Jasmine (2013).

Blanchett’s most commercially successful films include Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–2003) and The Hobbit trilogy (2012–2014), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Cinderella (2015), Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and Ocean’s 8 (2018).

From 2008 to 2013, Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton, served as the artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company. Some of her stage roles during this period were in revivals of A Streetcar Named Desire, Uncle Vanya and The Maids. She made her Broadway debut in 2017 with The Present, for which she received a Tony Award nomination.

The Australian government awarded Blanchett the Centenary Medal in 2001 and she was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2017.[6] In 2012, she was appointed Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. Blanchett has been presented with honorary Doctor of Letters degrees from the University of New South Wales, University of Sydney and Macquarie University. In 2015, she was honoured by the Museum of Modern Art and received the British Film Institute Fellowship. Time magazine named Blanchett one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2007, and in 2018, she was ranked among the world’s highest-paid actresses.

Catherine Elise Blanchett was born on 14 May 1969 in the Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe. Her Australian mother, June Gamble,[9] worked as a property developer and teacher, and her American father, Robert DeWitt Blanchett Jr., a Texas native, was a US Navy Chief Petty Officer who later worked as an advertising executive. The two met when Blanchett’s father’s ship broke down in Melbourne.[13] When Blanchett was 10, her father died of a heart attack, leaving her mother to raise the family on her own.[14][15] Blanchett is the middle of three children, she has an older brother Bob Blanchett (born 1968), and a younger sister Genevieve Blanchett (born 1971). Her ancestry includes English, some Scottish, and remote French roots.

Blanchett has described herself as being “part extrovert, part wallflower” during childhood.[14] During her teenage years she had a penchant for dressing in traditionally masculine clothing, and went through goth and punk phases, at one point shaving her head.[14] She attended primary school in Melbourne at Ivanhoe East Primary School; for her secondary education, she attended Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School and then Methodist Ladies’ College, where she explored her passion for the performing arts.[18] In her late teens and early twenties, she worked at a nursing home in Victoria.[19] She studied economics and fine arts at the University of Melbourne but dropped out after one year to travel overseas. While in Egypt, Blanchett was asked to be an American cheerleader, as an extra in the Egyptian boxing movie, Kaboria; in need of money, she accepted.[14][20] Upon returning to Australia, and after working in the pocket theatres of Melbourne, including La Mama, she moved to Sydney, and enrolled at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).[20] She graduated from NIDA in 1992 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.[14]

Career
1992–2000: Beginnings and international breakthrough
Blanchett’s first stage role was opposite Geoffrey Rush, in the 1992 David Mamet play Oleanna for the Sydney Theatre Company. That year, she was also cast as Clytemnestra in a production of Sophocles’ Electra. A couple of weeks after rehearsals, the actress playing the title role pulled out, and director Lindy Davies cast Blanchett in the role. Her performance as Electra became one of her most acclaimed at NIDA.[13] In 1993, Blanchett was awarded the Sydney Theatre Critics’ Best Newcomer Award for her performance in Timothy Daly’s Kafka Dances and won Best Actress for her performance in Mamet’s Oleanna, making her the first actor to win both categories in the same year.[13] Blanchett played the role of Ophelia in an acclaimed 1994–1995 Company B production of Hamlet directed by Neil Armfield, starring Rush and Richard Roxburgh, and was nominated for a Green Room Award.[21] She appeared in the 1994 TV miniseries Heartland opposite Ernie Dingo, the miniseries Bordertown (1995) with Hugo Weaving, and in an episode of Police Rescue entitled “The Loaded Boy”.[22][23] She also appeared in the 50-minute drama short Parklands (1996), which received an Australian Film Institute (AFI) nomination for Best Original Screenplay.[24][25]

Blanchett made her feature film debut with a supporting role as a spirited young Australian nurse captured by the Japanese Army during World War II, in Bruce Beresford’s film Paradise Road (1997), which co-starred Glenn Close and Frances McDormand.[15] Paradise Road made just over $2 million at the box office on a budget of $19 million[26] and received mixed reviews from critics, with Roger Ebert criticising the film’s “lack of a story arc”.[27] Her first leading role came later that year as eccentric heiress Lucinda Leplastrier in Gillian Armstrong’s romantic drama Oscar and Lucinda (1997), opposite Ralph Fiennes.[15] Blanchett received wide acclaim for her performance,[20] with Emanuel Levy of Variety declaring, “luminous newcomer Blanchett, in a role originally intended for Judy Davis, is bound to become a major star”.[28] She earned her first AFI Award nomination as Best Leading Actress for Oscar and Lucinda which she lost to Deborah Mailman in Radiance (1998).[29] She won the AFI Best Actress Award in the same year for her starring role as Lizzie in the romantic comedy Thank God He Met Lizzie (1997), co-starring Richard Roxburgh and Frances O’Connor.[20] By 1997, Blanchett had accrued significant praise and recognition in her native Australia.[20]

Her first high-profile international role was a young Elizabeth I of England in the critically acclaimed historical drama Elizabeth (1998), directed by Shekhar Kapur. The film catapulted her to stardom, and her performance garnered wide recognition, earning her the Golden Globe Award and British Academy Award (BAFTA), and her first Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.[13][21] In his review for Variety, critic David Rooney wrote of her performance, “Alternately gaunt and angular and ethereally beautiful, Blanchett conveys with grace, poise and intelligence that Elizabeth was a wily, decisive, advanced thinker, far too aware of her own exceptional nature to bow to any man. The Australian actress builds the juicy character almost imperceptibly from a smart but wary young woman who may be in over her head into a powerful creature of her own invention.”[30] Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote that Blanchett’s performance “brings spirit, beauty and substance to what otherwise might have been turned into a vacuous role”,[31] and Alicia Potter writing for the Boston Phoenix stated that, “In the end, Kapur’s crown jewel is a tale of twin transformations, that of Elizabeth into one of history’s most enigmatic and powerful women, and that of Blanchett into, well, a bona fide screen queen.”[32]

The following year, Blanchett appeared in Bangers (1999), an Australian short film and part of Stories of Lost Souls, a compilation of thematically-related short stories. The short was written and directed by her husband, Andrew Upton, and produced by Blanchett and Upton.[33][34] She also appeared in the Mike Newell comedy Pushing Tin (1999), co-starring Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie wherein her performance was singled out by critics,[20] and the critically acclaimed and financially successful Anthony Minghella film The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), alongside Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. She received her second BAFTA nomination for her performance in The Talented Mr. Ripley as Meredith Logue, a naive and wealthy American heiress.[15]

2000–2007: Established actress
Already an acclaimed actress, Blanchett received a host of new fans when she appeared in Peter Jackson’s Academy Award-winning blockbuster trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, playing the role of elf leader Galadriel in all three films.[15] The trilogy was a major critical and financial success, earning $2.981 billion at the box office worldwide,[35][36][37] and all three films were later ranked within the top 10 greatest fantasy movies of all time in a poll conducted by American magazine Wired in 2012.[38] In addition to The Lord of the Rings, 2001 also saw Blanchett diversify her portfolio with a range of roles in the dramas Charlotte Gray and The Shipping News and the American crime-comedy Bandits, for which she earned a second Golden Globe and SAG Award nomination.[39] Bandits marked Blanchett’s first notable foray into the comedy genre, with Ben Falk of the BBC declaring her and co-star Billy Bob Thornton “a real find as comedians” and calling her performance as an unsatisfied housewife caught between two escaped convicts, “unhinged, though undeniably sexy”.[40]

In 2002, Blanchett starred opposite Giovanni Ribisi in Tom Tykwer-directed Heaven, the first film in an unfinished trilogy by acclaimed writer-director Krzysztof Kieślowski.[21][41] Her performance in the film as a grieving woman who commits a desperate act of terrorism was highly praised, with Stephen Holden of The New York Times calling it, “the most compelling screen performance of her career” and going on to state, “Although Ms. Blanchett’s face has always registered emotion with a mercurial fluidity, the immediacy of feeling she conveys in ”Heaven” is astonishing.”[42] 2003 saw Blanchett again playing a wide range of roles: Galadriel in the third and final instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture);[43] the Ron Howard-directed western thriller The Missing opposite Tommy Lee Jones; Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes – playing two roles (both against herself) – for which she received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female nomination;[44] and the biographical Veronica Guerin, which earned her a Golden Globe Best Actress Drama nomination.[21] In 2004, Blanchett portrayed a pregnant journalist chronicling an underwater voyage by an eccentric oceanographer in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Blanchett at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival
In 2005, she won her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her highly acclaimed portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator (2004).[45] This made Blanchett the first actor in history to win an Academy Award for portraying another Academy Award-winning actor.[46] She lent her Oscar statuette to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.[47] In his review for Newsweek, David Ansen wrote that Blanchett portrayed Hepburn with “lip-smacking vivacity”[48] and Roger Ebert lauded the performance, describing it as “delightful and yet touching; mannered and tomboyish”.[49] During her preparation for the role and at the request of Scorcese, Blanchett reviewed 35-millimeter prints of all of Hepburn’s first 15 screen performances to study and memorise her poise, mannerisms and speech pattern.[50] In an interview with The New York Times, Blanchett spoke of the responsibility of portraying such an iconic star, “Representing Kate in the same medium, film, in which she existed was very daunting. But because she was so private and few people really knew her, we basically know Hepburn through her films. So of course you have to give a nod to her screen persona when playing her.”[50]

Also in 2005, Blanchett won the Australian Film Institute Best Actress Award for her role as Tracy Heart, a former heroin addict, in the Australian film Little Fish, co-produced by her and her husband’s production company, Dirty Films.[33] Though lesser known globally than some of her other films, the “sober, sensitive”[51] Little Fish received great critical acclaim in Blanchett’s native Australia and was nominated for 13 Australian Film Institute awards.[52][53]

In 2006, Blanchett starred opposite Brad Pitt as one half of a grieving couple who get caught up in an international incident in Morocco in the multi-lingual, multi-narrative ensemble drama Babel, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, which received seven Academy Award nominations,[54] as well as the Steven Soderbergh-directed World War II set drama The Good German with George Clooney, and the acclaimed psychological thriller Notes on a Scandal opposite Dame Judi Dench.[20][21] Blanchett received a third Academy Award nomination for her performance in the latter film.[55] In Notes on a Scandal, Blanchett portrays Sheba Hart, a lonely art teacher who embarks on an affair with a 15-year-old student and becomes the object of obsession for an older woman played by Dench. Both Blanchett’s and Dench’s performances were highly acclaimed, with Peter Bradshaw writing in The Guardian, “Director Richard Eyre, with unshowy authority, gets the best out of Dench and Blanchett and, with great shrewdness, elicits from these two actors all the little tensions and exasperations – as well as the genuine tenderness – in their tragically fraught relationship.”[56]

In 2007, Blanchett was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World,[57] and appeared on Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list.[58] She had a cameo as Janine, forensic scientist and ex-girlfriend of Simon Pegg’s character in Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz (2007). The cameo was uncredited and she gave her fee to charity.[59][60] She reprised her role as Queen Elizabeth I in the 2007 sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age directed by Shekhar Kapur, and portrayed Jude Quinn, one of six incarnations of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’ experimental film I’m Not There. She won the Volpi Cup Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival (accepted by fellow Australian and I’m Not There co-star Heath Ledger), the Independent Spirit and Golden Globe Best Supporting Actress Award for her portrayal of Jude Quinn.[61][62][63] At the 80th Academy Awards, Blanchett received two nominations – Best Actress for Elizabeth: the Golden Age and Best Supporting Actress for I’m Not There – becoming the first actress to receive another nomination for the reprisal of a role.[64] Of her achievement that year, Roger Ebert said, “That Blanchett could appear in the same Toronto International Film Festival playing Elizabeth and Bob Dylan, both splendidly, is a wonder of acting.”[65]

2008–2011: Sydney Theatre Company
Blanchett next appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, as the villainous KGB agent Col. Dr. Irina Spalko, Spielberg’s favourite villain from the entire series, .[66] The film received mixed reviews from critics and audiences but was a major box office success, grossing over $790 million worldwide.[67] In David Fincher’s Oscar-nominated The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, she co-starred with Brad Pitt for a second time, playing the title character’s love interest, Daisy Fuller. In the same year, Blanchett voiced the character of Granmamare for the English language version of Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, released in July 2008.[68]

Blanchett at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival
Also in 2008, Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton became co-CEOs and artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company (STC).[69][70] Blanchett returned to acting in the theatre in 2009 with the Sydney Theatre Company production of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, directed by Liv Ullmann. She starred as Blanche DuBois alongside Joel Edgerton as Stanley Kowalski. Ullmann and Blanchett had been meaning to collaborate on a project since Ullman’s intended film adaption of A Doll’s House fell by the wayside. Blanchett proposed embarking on Streetcar to Ullmann, who jumped at the opportunity after initial discussion.[71][72]

A Streetcar Named Desire production traveled from Sydney to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.[73][74] It was a critical and commercial success and Blanchett received acclaim for her performance as Blanche DuBois.[12][75][76][77] The New York Times critic Ben Brantley said, “Ms. Ullmann and Ms. Blanchett have performed the play as if it had never been staged before, with the result that, as a friend of mine put it, “you feel like you’re hearing words you thought you knew pronounced correctly for the first time.”[78] John Lahr of The New Yorker said of her portrayal, “Blanchett, with her alert mind, her informed heart, and her lithe, patrician silhouette, gets it right from the first beat… I don’t expect to see a better performance of this role in my lifetime.”[79] Jane Fonda, who attended a New York show, deemed it “perhaps the greatest stage performance I have ever seen”,[80] and Meryl Streep declared, “That performance was as naked, as raw and extraordinary and astonishing and surprising and scary as anything I’ve ever seen… I thought I’d seen that play, I thought I knew all the lines by heart, because I’ve seen it so many times, but I’d never seen the play until I saw that performance.”[81] Blanchett won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.[82] The production and Blanchett received Helen Hayes Awards, for Outstanding Non-Resident Production and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Non-Resident Production award, respectively.[83]

In 2010, Blanchett starred as Lady Marion opposite Russell Crowe’s titular hero in Ridley Scott’s epic Robin Hood. The film received mixed reviews from critics[84] but was a financial success, earning $321 million at the worldwide box office.[85] In 2011, she played the antagonist CIA agent Marissa Wiegler in Joe Wright’s action thriller film Hanna, co-starring with Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana.

In 2011, Blanchett took part in two Sydney Theatre Company productions. She played Lotte Kotte in a new translation of Botho Strauß’s 1978 play Groß und klein (Big and Small) from Martin Crimp, directed by Benedict Andrews.[86] After its Sydney run, the production traveled to London, Paris, the Vienna Festival and Ruhrfestspiele.[12] Blanchett and the production received wide acclaim.[87][88][89][90][91] Blanchett was nominated for the London Evening Standard Award for Best Actress,[92] and won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role[93] and the Helpmann Award for Best Actress.[94] She then played Yelena, opposite Hugo Weaving and Richard Roxburgh, in Andrew Upton’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, which traveled to the Kennedy Center and the New York City Center as part of the Lincoln Center Festival.[95] The production and Blanchett received critical acclaim,[9][96][97] with The New York Times’ Ben Brantley declaring, “I consider the three hours I spent on Saturday night watching [the characters] complain about how bored they are among the happiest of my theatregoing life … This Uncle Vanya gets under your skin like no other I have seen … [Blanchett] confirms her status as one of the best and bravest actresses on the planet.”[98] The Washington Post’s Peter Marks dubbed the production Washington D.C’s top theatrical event of 2011.[9] Blanchett received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Non-Resident Production, and the Helpmann Award for Best Actress.[94][99]

2012–2016: Resurgence in Hollywood

Blanchett at the Deauville American Film Festival in 2013
Blanchett reprised her role as Galadriel in Peter Jackson’s adaptations of The Hobbit (2012–2014), prequel to The Lord of the Rings series, filmed in New Zealand.[100] While less critically acclaimed than The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy was nonetheless a major box office success, earning nearly $3 billion worldwide.[101][102][103] The character of Galadriel does not appear in J.R.R. Tolkien’s original novel, but the story was amended by co-writer Guillermo del Toro and director Peter Jackson so that Blanchett could appear in the film trilogy.[104] She voiced the role of “Penelope” in the Family Guy episode “Mr. and Mrs. Stewie”, which aired on 29 April 2012, and Queen Elizabeth II in the episode “Family Guy Viewer Mail 2”.[105][106] Blanchett returned to Australian film with her appearance in The Turning (2013), an anthology film based on a collection of short stories by Tim Winton.[107] She was head of jury of the 2012 and 2013 Dubai International Film Festival.[108] The Sydney Theatre Company’s 2013 season was Blanchett’s final one as co-CEO and artistic director.[69][109]

In 2013, Blanchett played Jasmine Francis, the lead role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, co-starring Alec Baldwin and Sally Hawkins. Her performance garnered widespread acclaim, with some critics considering it to be the finest of her career to that point (surpassing her acclaimed performance in Elizabeth).[110] In his review for The Guardian, Mark Kermode proclaimed, “… Blanchett takes on the challenge like a peak-fitness runner facing a marathon, ploughing her way through 26 miles of emotional road pounding, with all the ups and downs, strains and tears, stomach turns and heartburns that that entails, a feat that occasionally leaves her (and us) gasping for breath.”[111] Peter Travers, reviewing the film for Rolling Stone, called Blanchett’s performance, “miraculous”, and went on to write, “The sight of Jasmine – lost, alone and unable to conjure magic out of unyielding reality – is devastating. This is Blanchett triumphant, and not to be missed.”[112] The performance won her more than 40 industry and critics’ awards, including the LAFCA Award, NYFCC Award, NSFC Award, Critics’ Choice Award, Santa Barbara International Film Festival Outstanding Performance of the Year Award, SAG Award, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award, Independent Film Spirit Award and the Academy Award for Best Actress.[113] Blanchett’s win made her just the sixth actress to win an Oscar in both of the acting categories, the third to win Best Actress after Best Supporting Actress, and the first Australian to win more than one acting Oscar.[114][115][116]

Allen’s daughter Dylan Farrow has since criticised Blanchett and other actresses for working with Allen.[117][118] Blanchett responded, “It’s obviously been a long and painful situation for the family and I hope they find some resolution and peace.”[119] In response to questions regarding her advocacy for women in Hollywood with respect to the Me Too movement, Blanchett asserted that the justice system, and not social media, should be the “judge and jury” in such cases.[120][121]

Blanchett at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival
In 2014, Blanchett co-starred with Matt Damon and George Clooney in the latter’s film, The Monuments Men, based on the true story of a crew of art historians and museum curators who recover renowned works of art stolen by Nazis.[122] The film featured an ensemble cast, including John Goodman, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, and Jean Dujardin. The French heroine Rose Valland was an inspiration for the character of Claire Simone, portrayed by Blanchett.[123] The Monuments Men received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $155 million at the worldwide box office.[124] Also in 2014, Blanchett voiced the part of Valka in the DreamWorks Animation film How to Train Your Dragon 2.[125] The film received critical acclaim and was a box office success.[126] It went on to win the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.[127][128] Blanchett guest starred on the Australian show Rake, as the onscreen female version of Richard Roxburgh’s rogue protagonist, Cleaver.[129] On 29 January 2015, she co-hosted the 4th AACTA Awards with Deborah Mailman.[130]

In 2015, Blanchett starred in five films. She portrayed Nancy in Terrence Malick’s Knight Of Cups, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival.[131] IndieWire named Blanchett’s performance in Knight of Cups one of the 15 best performances in Terrence Malick films.[132] She headlined as the villain Lady Tremaine in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh, to critical acclaim, with Richard Corliss writing in his review for Time magazine, “Like Jolie in Maleficent, Blanchett gets top billing here. She earns it by radiating a hauteur that chills as it amuses; the performance is grand without skirting parody.”[133][134][135] She then starred opposite Rooney Mara in Carol, the highly acclaimed film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, reuniting her with director Todd Haynes. Blanchett also served as an executive producer on the film.[136] Her performance as the titular character was widely cited as one of the best of her career alongside Elizabeth and Blue Jasmine, with Michael Phillips writing in his review for the Chicago Tribune, “Blanchett’s a formidable technician, a performer of serious wit and fire. She serves Carol well and truly throughout.”[137] Justin Chang of Variety proclaimed, “As a study in the way beautiful surfaces can simultaneously conceal and expose deeper meanings, [Blanchett’s] performance represents an all-too-fitting centerpiece for this magnificently realized movie.” For Carol, Blanchett received once again Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award nominations.[138][139][140] In the same year she also portrayed Mary Mapes opposite Robert Redford’s Dan Rather in Truth, a film about the Killian documents controversy. Blanchett’s production company was a producing partner for the film.[141]

Also in 2015, Blanchett appeared in Manifesto, Julian Rosefeldt’s multi-screen video installation, in which 12 artist manifestos are depicted by 13 different characters all played by Blanchett.,[142] and in 2016, Blanchett narrated one of two versions of Terence Malick’s documentary on Earth and the universe, Voyage of Time, which had its world premiere at the 73rd Venice Film Festival.[143][144][145]

2017–present: Broadway debut and further success
In 2017, Blanchett starred in the Sydney Theatre Company play The Present, Andrew Upton’s adaption of Anton Chekhov’s play Platonov, directed by John Crowley.[146] The production debuted in Sydney in 2015, to critical acclaim, and transferred to Broadway in 2017,[147][148] marking Blanchett’s Broadway debut.[149] Blanchett’s performance during the play’s Broadway run received[150][151] a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Play,[152] a Drama Desk Award nomination,[153] and a Drama League Award nomination for the Distinguished Performance Award.[154] In 2017, Blanchett also appeared in Malick’s Song to Song, shot back-to-back with Knight of Cups in 2012,[155] and the Marvel Studios film Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Taika Waititi.[156] Thor: Ragnarok was both a critical and financial success, earning $854 million at the worldwide box office,[157] with Blanchett’s performance as the larger than life villain, Hela, being praised as “silly fun” and “hammed to the hilt”.[158]

Blanchett at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival where she served as Jury President
In 2018, Blanchett starred in Ocean’s 8, the all-female spin-off of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise, directed by Gary Ross, opposite Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna and Awkwafina.[159][160][161] The film garnered mainly mixed reviews but was a box office success, earning over $297 million worldwide.[162] She also portrayed Florence Zimmerman in the film adaptation of The House with a Clock in Its Walls directed by Eli Roth.[163] Blanchett was appointed the President of the Jury of the 71st Cannes Film Festival, which took place in May 2018[164] and in the same year, Forbes estimated her annual earnings to be $12.5 million, ranking her as the eighth highest-paid actress in the world.[7]

Blanchett portrayed a female version of the python Kaa in Andy Serkis’ adaptation of The Jungle Book titled Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle. Serkis utilised a mixture of motion capture, CG animation and live-action within the film and the role of Kaa was written to be much closer to the original character in the short stories by the author Rudyard Kipling, which is as a mentor-like figure for Mowgli.[165] The film was released on Netflix in 2019.[166] In the same year, Blanchett starred in Where’d You Go, Bernadette, an adaptation of the best-selling book of the same name, which was directed by Richard Linklater.[167] The film received mostly mixed reviews and made only $10.4 million[168] at the box office against a budget of $18 million,[169] but Blanchett’s performance as the titular character received praise, with Pete Hammond writing in his review for Deadline, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette doesn’t quite measure up to expectations, despite a game performance from the incandescent Cate Blanchett, who clearly is the best reason to see this movie.”[170] She received her tenth Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the film.[171] Also in the same year, she reprised her role as Valka in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World which was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards.[172][173]

In 2020, Blanchett returned to television by starring in two miniseries. She played a supporting role in the Australian drama series Stateless which is inspired by the controversial mandatory detention case of Cornelia Rau. Stateless was funded by Screen Australia and Blanchett also served as co-creator and executive producer for the series.[174] Stateless aired from 1 March 2020 to 5 April 2020 on Australian public broadcaster ABC. The series also premiered internationally on Netflix in July 2020.[175] Blanchett won two awards at the 10th AACTA Awards for Stateless, firstly in the Best Guest or Supporting Actress category for her performance, and secondly in the Best Mini-Series category for her role as executive producer.[176] Blanchett also headlined and produced the FX/Hulu historical drama miniseries Mrs. America, starring as conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.[177] The nine-part series debuted in the United States on 15 April 2020, to widespread critical acclaim[178][179] with James Poniewozik writing in his review for The New York Times, “Her final scene, wordless and devastating, might as well end with Blanchett being handed an Emmy onscreen.”[180] and Michael Idato for The Sydney Morning Herald proclaiming, “Blanchett’s track record speaks for itself, but here something else is happening. Every time Blanchett’s Schlafly glides perfectly into the frame, there is simply nowhere else to look.”[181] Blanchett received nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress and Outstanding Limited Series (for her role as executive producer) at the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards for Mrs. America, as well as a nomination for Individual Achievement in Drama from the Television Critics Association.[182][183]

Also in 2020, Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton’s Dirty Films production company was signed with New Republic Pictures for feature films,[184] and FX Networks for TV series,[185] and Blanchett served as an executive producer on the Greek film Apples directed by Christos Nikou.[186]

Upcoming projects
Blanchett will next star alongside Bradley Cooper in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham.[187] She will voice a role in Pinocchio also directed by Del Toro.[188] She has signed to star as the character Lilith in Borderlands a live action adaptation of the video game of the same name for Lionsgate re-uniting her with Eli Roth,[189] as well as in Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up, a political satire for Netflix,[190] and drama Armageddon Time directed by James Gray alongside Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway and Oscar Isaac.[191]

Personal life

Blanchett at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Blanchett is married to playwright and screenwriter Andrew Upton. They met in 1996 on the set of a TV show and married on 29 December 1997.[192][193] The couple have three sons and one daughter. Their sons are Dashiell John Upton (born 2001),[194] Roman Robert Upton (born 2004),[195] Ignatius Martin Upton (born 2008),[196] and daughter Edith Vivian Patricia Upton (adopted in 2015).[197][198] Blanchett said that she and her husband had been wanting to adopt ever since the birth of their first child.[199]

After making Brighton, England their main family home for nearly 10 years, she and her husband returned to their native Australia in 2006.[200][201] In November 2006, Blanchett attributed this move to desires to select a permanent home for her children, to be closer to her family, and to have a sense of belonging to the Australian theatrical community.[5] She and her family lived in the Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill.[202] Their Hunters Hill residence underwent extensive renovations in 2007 to be made more eco-friendly.[203] Following the sale of their property there in late 2015, Blanchett and Upton purchased a house in East Sussex, England in early 2016.[204]

Blanchett has spoken about feminism and politics, telling Sky News in 2013 that she was concerned that “a wave of conservatism sweeping the globe” was threatening women’s role in society.[205] She has also commented on the pressures women in Hollywood face now: “Honestly, I think about my appearance less than I did ten years ago. People talk about the golden age of Hollywood because of how women were lit then. You could be Joan Crawford and Bette Davis and work well into your 50s, because you were lit and made into a goddess. Now, with everything being sort of gritty, women have this sense of their use-by date.”[206]

Blanchett is a patron and ambassador of the Australian Film Institute and its academy, the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts.[207] She is also a patron of the Sydney Film Festival.[208] Blanchett is a patron of the new Australian Pavilion in the Venice Biennale, and spoke at its opening at the Venice Giardini in May 2015.[209] Blanchett spoke at former Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam’s state funeral in 2014, and at the Margaret Whitlam dinner and fundraiser event hosted by Tanya Plibersek MP in June 2015.[210]

Activism
Environmental
Blanchett has been a long term proponent of individual and collective action on climate change and other environmental issues. In 2006, she joined former US Vice-President Al Gore’s Climate Project.[211][212] In 2007, Blanchett became the ambassador for the Australian Conservation Foundation.[213][214] She was made an honorary life member of the Australian Conservation Foundation in 2012, in recognition of her support for environmental issues.[211] At the beginning of 2011, Blanchett lent her support for a carbon tax.[215] She received some criticism for this, particularly from conservatives.[216][217] Blanchett is a patron of the international development charity SolarAid, which works to create a sustainable market for solar lights in Africa.[218]

From 2008 to 2011, the Sydney Theatre Company under the leadership of Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton, initiated a comprehensive large scale environmental program called Greening the Wharf, which invested in solar energy, rainwater harvesting, energy efficiency measures and best practice waste management.[219] The program won a Green Globe Award which was accepted by Blanchett and Upton.[220]

In January 2014, Blanchett took part in the Green Carpet Challenge, an initiative to raise the public profile of sustainable fashion, founded by Livia Firth of Eco-Age.[221][222]

In September 2020, Blanchett, as part of her role as Jury President of the 77th Venice International Film Festival vowed that during the festival she would only wear outfits that she had previously worn at public events in an effort to highlight the issue of sustainability in the fashion industry.[223] In October of the same year, Blanchett was appointed by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge as a council member for the ‘’Earthshot Prize’’, which provides 50 environmental pioneers with the funds needed to further their work in tackling major problems impacting the environment.[224]

Humanitarian
“Like you, I have heard the gut-wrenching accounts. Stories of grave torture, of women brutally violated, people who have had their loved ones killed before their eyes. Children who have seen their grandparents locked in houses that were set alight. I am a mother, and I saw my children in the eyes of every single refugee child I met. I saw myself in every parent. How can any mother endure seeing her child thrown into a fire?”
– Part of Blanchett’s address to the United Nations Security Council about the Rohingya refugee crisis in August 2018.[225]
Blanchett has been working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 2015. In May 2016, the UNHCR announced her appointment as a global Goodwill Ambassador.[226] Blanchett, along with other celebrities, featured in a video from the UNHCR to help raise awareness to the global refugee crisis. The video, titled “What They Took With Them”, has the actors reading a poem written by Jenifer Toksvig and inspired by primary accounts of refugees, and is part of UNHCR’s “WithRefugees” campaign, which also includes a petition to governments to expand asylum to provide further shelter, integrating job opportunities, and education.[227][228]

Blanchett has undertaken missions with the UNHCR to Jordan in 2015, Lebanon in 2016 and Bangladesh in 2018 to meet with and highlight the issues faced by both Syrian and Rohingya refugees in those areas.[229] In January 2018, she was awarded the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum to honor her advocacy for refugees and displaced people around the world,[230] and in August 2018, she addressed the United Nations Security Council about the atrocities committed against the Rohingya people in Myanmar.[231]

In July 2020, the Australian mini series Stateless, which was co-created and produced by Blanchett (and originally aired on the ABC network in Australia), premiered on Netflix. The series was inspired by Blanchett’s work with the UNHCR and focuses on four strangers whose lives collide at an immigration detention centre in Australia. In Blanchett’s words, the show’s aim is to “build empathy and understanding for refugees, particularly those who have been and still are in detention.”[232]

As an esteemed member of the performing arts community that was seriously impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and a person concerned about environmental and humanitarian issues, Blanchett contributed an essay to Upturn: A better normal after COVID-19, a book published in 2020 about what could be done to improve society after the pandemic in her native Australia.[233][234]

“We engage with the performance of the gesture and the whole of it is greater than the sum of its parts. I think this need to gather is fundamental to who we are, and it has been stymied by Covid-19 but also underlined by it, and that need in us for community addresses the difficult lesson we have to learn: business is not government and government is not a business.” – An excerpt from Blanchett’s essay in Upturn: A better normal after Covid-19.[234]

Reception and legacy

Blanchett at the 2012 Tropfest in Sydney
Blanchett is often regarded as one of the finest actresses of her generation and has been noted for her ability to play characters from many different walks of life, as well as headline a wide range of film genres, from low-budget independent films to high-profile, mainstream productions.[4][5][235] She has also been praised for her mastery over a wide array of diverse accents, from English, Irish and French to various regional American accents.[236]

Commenting on her appeal as a screen actor in Vulture, Will Leitch and Tim Grierson stated that her greatest skill was “her ability to combine relatability and elusiveness: She is always completely present and yet just out of grasp. She has been forever daring, uncompromising and perpetually, resolutely, herself.”[237] Blanchett’s performance in the film Carol was ranked as the 2nd best movie performance of the decade by IndieWire in 2019. Writing of her performance in the film, Christian Zilko states, “The greatest performance in a career where almost every role feels like a legitimate contender, Cate Blanchett’s take on Carol Aird is a veritable symphony of repressive silence.”[238]

Blanchett has been cited in the press as being a style icon and has frequently topped lists of the best dressed women in the world.[239][240][241] She became a spokeswoman for and the face of SK-II, the luxury skin care brand owned by Procter & Gamble, in 2005.[242][243] and brand ambassador for Giorgio Armani fragrances for women in 2013, being paid $10 million for the latter.[244] She appeared in a 2019 advertisement for the Giorgio Armani fragrance, SÌ, filmed by Fleur Fortuné.[245] In 2018 Armani announced Blanchett was to become the first beauty ambassador for the company, representing the company globally by absorbing responsibilities for skincare and make-up, in addition to her previous 2013 commitments to fragrances.[246]

Blanchett was named the third most naturally beautiful woman of all time by a panel of beauty and fashion editors, make-up artists, model agencies and photographers in 2004, behind Audrey Hepburn and Liv Tyler.[247] She was ranked 42nd in Empire’s list of the “100 Sexiest Movie Stars of All-Time” in 2013[248] and 31st in the same list in 2007.[249] As of 2020, Blanchett has appeared on more than 300 magazine covers around the world, including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly and Variety.[250]

In 2006, a portrait of Blanchett and her family painted by McLean Edwards was a finalist for the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Archibald Prize.[251] Another portrait of Blanchett was a finalist for the Archibald Prize in 2014.[252]

In 2009, Blanchett appeared in a series of commemorative postage stamps called Australian Legends, in recognition of the outstanding contribution made to Australian entertainment and culture.[253] In 2015, Madame Tussauds Hollywood unveiled a wax sculpture of Blanchett draped in a recreation of the Valentino Garavani dress she wore to the 77th Academy Awards in 2005.[254]

Acting credits
Main article: Cate Blanchett on screen and stage
Blanchett has appeared in over 70 films and over 20 theatre productions. As of 2019, Blanchett’s films have grossed over $9.8 billion at the worldwide box office.[255]

Among her numerous accolades for her acting work, Blanchett has won two Academy Awards,[256][257] three BAFTA Awards,[258] three Golden Globe Awards,[259] and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.[260][261][262] Her performance as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator made her the only actor to win an Academy Award for portraying an Academy Award-winning actor.[263] Blanchett is one of only four actresses to win the Academy Award for Best Actress after winning Best Supporting Actress.[115] She is one of only six actors (and the only actress) in Oscar history to be nominated twice for playing the same role in two films (Elizabeth I for Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age), and the eleventh actor to receive two acting nominations in the same year.[64][264] She is also the only Australian actor to win two acting Oscars.

Blanchett received Premiere magazine’s Icon Award in 2006.[266] In 2008, she received the Santa Barbara International Film Festival Modern Master Award in recognition of her accomplishments in the film industry.[267] That year, she received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, inducted at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard outside Grauman’s Egyptian Theater.[21] She received Women in Film and Television International’s Crystal Award for excellence in the entertainment industry in 2014.[268] In 2015, Blanchett was honoured at the Museum of Modern Art’s Film Benefit for her outstanding contributions to the industry.[269][270] She received the British Film Institute Fellowship in recognition of her outstanding contribution to film, presented to her by fellow actor Ian McKellen.[271][272] Blanchett was also the recipient of the AACTA Longford Lyell Award in 2015, for her “outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture.”[273] In 2016, she received the Costume Designers Guild Lacoste Spotlight Award, in honour of an “enduring commitment to excellence” and her “appreciation for the artistry of costume design and collaboration with the Costume Designers.”[274]

Blanchett was awarded the Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society by the Australian government.

In 2012, she was appointed Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture, in recognition of her significant contributions to the arts.[276] In 2017, Blanchett was made a Companion of the Order of Australia by the Queen for “eminent service to the performing arts as an international stage and screen actor, through seminal contributions as director of artistic organisations, as a role model for women and young performers, and as a supporter of humanitarian and environmental causes.”[6][277] She has been presented with honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University of Sydney, the University of New South Wales and Macquarie University in recognition of her contribution to the arts, philanthropy and the community.

 

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