Blanchett on an honours roll

Tributes in Deauville and New York.

by Richard Mowe

Cate Blanchett: consistently mesmerising audiences.
Cate Blanchett: consistently mesmerising audiences.

Honours seem to beget honours. Cate Blanchett, who has delivered in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine what may be one of the crown jewels in a career overflowing with mesmerising performances, is being feted at film festivals both in France and New York.

In Allen’s film she plays a woman who flirts with losing her mind after losing her place in moneyed society following a financial scandal. And she will next be seen in George Clooney’s The Monuments Men later this year, a Second World War thriller that chronicles the U.S. Government’s efforts to recapture precious artwork stolen by the Nazis.

She will bask first in the glory of adulation at the Deauville Festival of American Cinema, which starts next Friday and where Blue Jasmine receives its French premiere (UK release 27 September).

Bruno Barde, director of the Festival said: “Not since Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence by John Cassavetes have we seen an actress display such genius.”

Blanchett also will be the subject of a gala tribute at the 51st New York Film Festival in October with Ralph Fiennes as the other candidate.

The NYFF Gala Tributes celebrate the work of individuals working in film who have made significant artistic contributions to film culture in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Past honourees include Pedro Almodóvar, David Cronenberg, Nicole Kidman and Richard Peña. As part of the Gala Tributes, the Film Society of the Lincoln Centre hosts intimate gala dinners following the tributes/screenings with attendees including that evening’s honouree and other VIP guests

Regarding the choice of Blanchett, the Film Society of Lincoln Centre’s executive director, Rose Kuo said, "In the year that many critics are hailing her most recent - and perhaps greatest – performance (in Blue Jasmine), the Film Society is delighted to celebrate the career of Cate Blanchett. Since her breakthrough in Oscar And Lucinda in 1997, Blanchett has consistently mesmerised audiences with some of the boldest screen performances of the past 20 years, with roles as diverse as Queen Elizabeth I and Bob Dylan.”

She has been the recipient of multiple Academy Award nominations and a Best Supporting Actress winner for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator.

Her work schedule shows no sign of easing up. In the near future she will begin production in London on Disney's live-action Cinderella as well as John Hillcoat’s 999. She has also completed production on two untitled Terrence Malick films with pending release dates. In 2014, she will star in David Mamet’s film Kestrel followed by the Todd Haynes’ Carol, based on the Patrica Highsmith novel The Price Of Salt.

Even today Blanchett can hardly believe her own good fortune as one of a succession of Australian actresses from Toni Collette to Keri Fox to make a global impression. She was a near-unknown when Bruce Beresford hired her, alongside Glenn Close and Frances McDormand for Paradise Road. She nearly stole their thunder as an anarchic army nurse.

Then compatriot Gillian Armstrong moved in swiftly to offer her Lucinda, the strong-willed heroine of Oscar And Lucinda, Peter Carey's Booker prizewinning novel. Once again there was a big-time co-star - this time Ralph Fiennes - and once again, there had been pressures to find a "name".

"I had to laugh," she told me at the time. "You can only win the Lottery once in a year, right? And here I was winning it twice."

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