Cate Blanchett is an Academy Award-winning actress known for roles in an array of esteemed films, including 'Elizabeth,' 'The Aviator,' 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,' 'Blue Jasmine' and 'Carol.'
Cate Blanchett | From 2 To 47 Years Old
Born in 1969 in Melborne, Australia, Cate Blanchett studied at Australia's National Institute for Dramatic Art, graduating in 1992. Her U.S. film debut was in 1997's Paradise Road and she's gone on to star in a number of lauded projects, including The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Aviator, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and two films about Queen Elizabeth I. In 2005, she won an Academy Award (best supporting actress) for her role as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. She received another Oscar in 2014, this time for best actress for her performance in Blue Jasmine (2013), and has earned further acclaim for her role in 2015's romantic drama Carol.
Born Catherine Élise Blanchett in Melbourne, Australia, on May 14, 1969, Cate Blanchett began making a name for herself in theater soon after graduating from Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1992. She quickly won roles with the Sydney Theater Company, first in its production of Top Girls and then in Kafka Dances. For her latter performance, Blanchett won the Sydney Theatre Critics Circle Newcomer Award in 1993. She also received critical acclaim for roles in productions of Hamlet, The Tempest and The Seagull.
Golden Globe for 'Elizabeth'
Blanchett went on to land various parts on Australian and American television series, and then made her U.S. feature film debut in 1997's Paradise Road, about a group of women imprisoned in Japan during WWII. Later that year, she grabbed Hollywood's attention with her performance opposite Ralph Fiennes in Oscar and Lucinda (1997). In 1998, Blanchett's Golden Globe-winning portrayal of England's Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth earned the actress her first Academy Award nomination. She was 29 years old.
Blanchett turned in a superb supporting performance in 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley, a film also featuring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. Then in 2000, she played a psychic woman in a small Southern town in the thriller The Gift, starring alongside Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear. The following year, Blanchett co-starred with Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton in the comic caper Bandits, and with Kevin Spacey and Julianne Moore in The Shipping News. Additionally, she headlined the World War II-era drama Charlotte Gray, playing a British woman who is drawn into the French resistance movement.
'Lord of the Rings' and Oscar Win
The following year, Blanchett appeared in the first installment of The Lord of the Rings franchise, directed by Peter Jackson and based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. She played the benevolent royal elf Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). Blanchett returned to the character for the second and third installmentsof the trilogy (reuniting with Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler, among other recurring Lord of the Rings cast members): The Two Towers, released in 2002, and The Return of the King, released in 2003.
In 2005, Blanchett garnered her biggest cinematic accolade to date: She earned an Academy Award for best supporting actress for portraying Katharine Hepburn in the Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese.
Two years later, Blanchett returned to one of her most famous characters, Queen Elizabeth, in the film Elizabeth: TheGolden Age (2007). Picking up a later chapter in the life of Elizabeth I, the film explores how the queen handled threats to her rule and her relationship with explorer Sir Walter Raleigh. Blanchett earned Screen Actors Guild Award, Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for her performance.
Portraying Bob Dylan
That same year, the actress took on another legendary portrayal: She was one of the actors to portray music legend Bob Dylan in the acclaimed biopic I'm Not There, directed by Todd Haynes. For her performance as the iconic singer-songwriter, Blanchett earned another Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, as well as Golden Globe and Oscar nods in the supporting actress category. Also in 2007, the actress was named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People In The World."
In 2008, Blanchett starred as the dancer Daisy alongside Brad Pitt's title character in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, about a man who ages in reverse time. Directed by David Fincher, the movie's screenplay was inspired by a story originally written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the early 20th century.
In 2012, Blanchett returned to the character Galadriel yet again, this time for a new Jackson-directed series, The Hobbit. The franchise is a trilogy based on another work from Tolkien published years before The Lord of the Rings thatfeatures the same world. Thus The Hobbit's cast includes many of the same actors from The Lord of the Rings screen outings. The series' first film, An Unexpected Journey, was released in December 2012, and its second and third parts, The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again, hit theaters in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Blanchett was featured in each installment.
Oscar for 'Blue Jasmine'
Blanchett won another Oscar in 2014, this time for best actress, for her enthralling, not-to-be-missed performance as a delusional New York socialite in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine (2013). She starred in the film alongside Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin and Annie McNamara. Blanchett again showcased her extraordinary skills as a thespian, presenting a character inhabiting an artificial world of social prestige and glamour in an attempt to escape her past.
In 2008, Blanchett and her husband, screenwriter Andrew Upton, were appointed co-artistic directors of the Sydney Theater Company, serving in that capacity for several seasons, She also performed in several productions that included Jean Genet's The Maids, which appeared at the 2014 Lincoln Center Festival in New York.
After having co-starred in 2014's WWII drama The Monuments Men and the animated feature How to Train Your Dragon 2, Blanchett once again inhabited an iconic role, this time as the wicked stepmother in Disney's 2015 non-animated film adaptation of the fairy tale Cinderella, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Later that year she portrayed 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes in James Vanderbilt's Truth, co-starring Robert Redford as Dan Rather. The film explores the news program's investigation into President George W. Bush's military service and the resulting fallout after a questionable on-air report.
Blanchett was also reunited with director Haynes in another drama for the 2015 season, Carol, in which she plays a suburban housewife who becomes romantically involved with a store saleswoman (Rooney Mara). The project was adapted from a 1952 novel (originally titled The Price of Salt) by Patricia Highsmith, the same author who'd penned The Talented Mr. Ripley. Both Blanchett and Mara received Golden Globe actress nominations, with Carol itself receiving additional nods in the categories of best drama, direction and score. Both women also received Academy Award nominations for their work, thus marking Blanchett's seventh Oscar nod.
Blanchett is slated to play legendary comedian Lucille Ball in Lucy and Desi, an authorized biopic written by Aaron Sorkin and acquired by Amazon Studios.
Blanchett and Upton have three sons: Dashiell John (born in 2001), Roman Robert (born in 2004) and Ignatius Martin (born in 2008), with the couple adopting baby girl Edith in early 2015. Blanchett and Upton met and wed in 1997.
Cate Blanchett's captivating multi-layered character performance in Woody Allen's film Blue Jasmine should lead the 2014 Oscar nomination season.
The screenplay follows a wife's collapsed after a marriage to a "Bernie Madoff" type of scam artist has ended. The narrative which is a portrait of a woman in complete discord alternates between two parallel story lines. The film is memorizing through the incomparable blending by film editor Alisa Lepselter whose credits includes Midnight in Paris and Match Point.
Blue Jasmine is superbly crafted. Javier Aguierresarobe, a Spanish Basque cinematographer whose credits include Goya's Ghosts reflects the modern contemporary upheavals of the characters through the scenic sights of San Francisco and the East Coast. A walk along Ocean Beach, Chinatown, shots of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hamptons and New York enlightens the audience of the tapestries glorify leisure activities of the rich and the realities of working class American.
The film's costume designer, Suzie Benzinger, dressed Cate Blanchett's character perfectly. Chanel, Hermes, Carolina Herrera, Karl Lagerfeld, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Missoni are among the designers featured in Blanchett's clothes and accessories.
Jean Anouilh was a French dramatist who wrote, "There is love of course. And then there's life, its enemy." Writer and director Woody Allen's film Blue Jasmine, is powerful observant and pleasurable movie about love and its enemy. The cast Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay, Louis C.K., Michael Stuhlbarg and Alden Ehrenreich are all tackling romantic longings through their characters.
The musical selection for Blue Jasmine is an old jazz standard Blue Moon. The song's lyrics make a poignant statement about the characters longings. "Blue Moon / You saw me standing alone / Without a dream in my heart / Without a love of my own."
If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously!
When asked what colour her hair is: "Look, it's one of the great mysteries of the world, I cannot answer that question. I think I'm vaguely blonde. To be perfectly frank, I don't know."
When asked if she has ever appeared in Vecinos (1985): "Absolutely not. I'm an actress."
[on the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy] I had never done anything with blue screen before, or prosthetics, or anything like that. Lord of the Rings was like stepping into a videogame for me. It was another world completely. But, to be honest, I basically did it so that I could have the ears. I thought they would really work with my bare head.
If I had my way, if I was lucky enough, if I could be on the brink my entire life - that great sense of expectation and excitement without the disappointment - that would be the perfect state.
It's part of my job. You can't play Veronica Guerin [puts on heavy Strine] sounding like this. It just wouldn't wash. But what I find fascinating about doing an accent - unless it's a farce - is that it's not slapped on. [on doing many accents]
[on working with Ron Howard in Desapariciones (2003)] I loved making it, I had a ball - cowboys and Indians. This is the thing, I love doing things which I'd never envisaged before. And so getting me on the back of a horse, with Tommy Lee Jones and shooting guns and chasing Indians, it's just not something that I would have expected myself to be doing.
The more you do it, the more you learn to concentrate, as a child does, incredibly intensively and then you sort of have to relax. I remember the first film I did, the lead actor would in between scenes be reading a newspaper or sleeping and I'd think, "How can you do that?"
[SAG acceptance speech Feb. 5, 2005] Thank you. I so didn't expected this. I wore a really tight dress that's very ungracious walking up those stairs. Thank you very much, I sort of don't know where to begin. Playing Katharine Hepburn, I absolutely did not expect to be standing here in front of you all. But Hepburn aside, I actually would like to say, as an actor coming from another country to this country, I am so astounded and amazed, and grateful, at the power of the SAG union and what it does for its members. And I hope that other countries, mine own included, you know, is inspired by that - I think it's incredible.
[on the pressures women face regarding plastic surgery] It's not just women on film, 18-year-old girls feel pressure to do preventative injecting. I see someone's face, someone's body who'd had children and I think they're the song lines of your experience, and why would you want to eradicate that? I look at people sort of entombing themselves and all you see is their little pin holes of terror... and you think, just live your life, death is not going to be any easier just because your face can't move.
I'm one of those strange beasts who really likes a corset.
You know, when you see yourself on a big screen, I tend to watch from behind my hands. There is absolutely the regret. You always get that at the end of every project. That's what's great about theater: at least every night you get the chance to go out and re-offend. I'm endlessly disappointed, which is what propels me into the next project, probably, not to repair the damage but to kind of hopefully keep developing. Otherwise there's no reason to keep doing it, is there?
There's this sense that of course you want to be famous. When you're a performer, of course you want an audience, but it's very, very different from courting fame.
[on her first Oscar loss, in 1999] Sometimes I think it's so good not to win those things. And, anyway, who wants to peak when they're 28?
Of course one worries about getting older--we're all fearful of death, let's not kid ourselves. I'm simply not panicking as my laugh lines grow deeper. Who wants a face with no history, no sense of humor?
Don't you think like most things, like comedy, like sex, like anything, it's about timing? I think [my husband and I] collided with each other at what turned out to be the perfect time. We knew each other socially and we didn't get on and we played poker one night and I don't know how we ended up kissing but we did and he asked me to marry him about three weeks later and we got together in the same spirit. . . . Maybe I've got a lack of consequence, a healthy lack of consequence.
[In 2012, on collaborating with husband Andrew Upton]: We've had some doozies and we've had some stinkers. No one sets out to have a stinker.
[I have] this strange, probably unachievable fantasy about performing in German in Berlin. [But] I don't speak German.
[on being directed by Woody Allen in Blue Jasmine (2013)] I found him forthcoming, generous and refreshingly honest. It can be brutal when people are honest, but I much prefer to know if it's not working, because you can do something with it - rather than people who go, 'Oh, we'll fix it up in post [-production].' There is no post in a Woody Allen movie. If it doesn't happen then, it doesn't happen at all.
I love Brighton. We lived in Lewes Crescent and it was the genesis of the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland; so magical.
No one is ever who they purport to be. And I suppose I'm most interested in the gap between who we project socially and who we really are.
I don't know if I ever really wanted to be an actor. I'm an active person - the thought of waiting for the phone to ring wasn't something that sat happily with me. But I kept doing it, trying not to do it, and then doing it. There's such a blessed unrest that you feel all the time, but maybe that's what keeps you going.
I can be a real pessimist. You know that when you win an Oscar and you walk offstage and your first thought is: "Oh God, I've peaked."
I've done a lot of talking over the past six years. My husband and I have been running the Sydney Theatre Company and it's been magic - my kids have been able to see so many of those transient moments between acting and real life behind the scenes. But now that I've given it up I'm looking forward to being a bit quieter. I'm very conscious of that. There have been times when I've heard myself in the past and thought: "Aw, just shut up."
You don't ever really get to know Woody Allen. He's not the sort of person where you can knock on his door and say: "I've got this really interesting idea." You just have to hope that he's written your name on a little scrap of paper somewhere and that one day he will call and say: "I've got a script I want you to read."
Working with Woody [Allen] is like an emotional strip club without the cash.
[on winning her 2nd Oscar for Blue Jasmine (2013)] Sit down. You're too old to be standing. Thank you, Mr. Day-Lewis, from you it exacerbates this honor to and it blows it right out of the ballpark. Thank you so much to the Academy. As random and as subjective as this award is, it means a great deal in a year of extraordinary, yet again, extraordinary performances by women. Amy Adams, everything you do, but your performance in American Hustle blew my mind. And Meryl, what can I say? Sandra [Bullock], I could watch that performance to the end of time, and I sort of felt like I had. Julia [Roberts], #suckit. You know what I mean? And Judi Dench, I mean what a career. She's not here tonight because at the age of 79, her film was so successful that she's in India doing a sequel. I mean what a career that is, if I could hope. And me, I'm here accepting an award in an extraordinary screenplay by Woody Allen. Thank you so much, Woody, for casting me. I truly appreciate it. I'm so very proud that Blue Jasmine stayed in the cinemas for as long as it did. And thank you to Sony Classics, to Michael and Tom for their extraordinary support. For so bravely and intelligently distributing the film and to the audiences who went to see it and perhaps those of us in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences. They are not. Audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money. The world is round, people. Thank you to my mum, to my sister, to my brother, to my three glorious sons. I would not be standing here without you. To my husband, Andrew, you are a legend. Thank you to my agent, Hylda Queally, you're behind the pillar somewhere up there. You are a goddess. To my agent in Australia, Robyn Gardiner, I love you so very much. To my publicist Lisa Kasteler. To the sublime Sally Hawkins. And to the extraordinary cast of Blue Jasmine. I don't know how to do this without other actors and this I share with you. To the hair and makeup people who sweat-ed me up and tried to make me look attractive. Thank you for the attempt. To Carla Meyer for getting Sally and I together and for incredible support. To Helen Robin. To everyone involved in Blue Jasmine, I thank you so much. And finally, I would like to thank every single member of the Sydney Theatre Company, one of the great theater companies in the world. For me, working on Blue Jasmine, it was a real synthesis of my work in the theater and on film. And not only working with you for the last six years has been the most enormous privilege of my career but it's made me a better actress. There is so much talent in Australia and Michael Wilkinson and C.M. and I are just tonight's tip of the iceberg. Thank you so much. Thank you.
[on who's the best between her and Marion Cotillard - Cannes Film Festival, 2014] There is no competition. Marion, hands down. I think she is one of the world's greatest actresses. From the first few frames of La vida en rosa (Edith Piaf) (2007), I just thought that I'd never seen anything like it. To see her in comic roles, and I was blown away again in De óxido y hueso (2012). We share the same agent at CAA, much to my chagrin. I think she's a genius. I can't wait to see her Lady Macbeth.
[on if she get fed up with being asked how she handles motherhood and her career] That question is only directed toward women: "How do you have it all?" I think we live in a world where there's still not equal pay for equal work. I still don't understand how in 2014 why that's not the case. I'm not necessarily talking about the industry in which we work. It's every industry. I think the things that have been said about women not only in African countries but also the English-speaking world is absolutely appalling. I think sometimes we're back in the Middle Ages. But I'm an actress at a film festival [Cannes 2014]. I can cope with those questions, but it's still surprising that we're still asking those questions.
[on why she got involved with Cómo entrenar a tu dragón 2 (2014)] It's a gift to be a part of a project like this. My children and I adored the first. And so when Dean [DeBlois, writer/director of "How to Train Your Dragon 2"] ambushed me a few years ago at an awards ceremony, I was intrigued. As an actor, you're used to using your body, your face, everything you can to communicate stuff. And when you have to only do it through your voice, and you're doing it in tandem with the most extraordinary, state-of-the-art animation, I found it an intriguing ride over the last three-and-a-half, four years to watch the character evolve quite separate from me, and how you can enhance and work with what the animators are doing. I didn't actually get to work with the other actors. I acted opposite Dean most of the time. It was very interesting.
I always remember something that Michelle Pfeiffer said a few years ago, which is that if you put a dollar in a jar every time you screw up with your children, then by the time they're grown you'll have saved enough to pay for their therapy. And I think that's true - although with inflation it's probably gone up to five dollars by now!
[on her reaction when her father died when she was 10 years old] I was playing the piano. He walked past the window. I waved goodbye [but didn't hug or kiss him]. He was going off to work. He had a heart attack that day. He was only forty. I developed this ritual where I couldn't leave the house until I could actually physically say goodbye to everyone.
[on Blue Jasmine (2013)] Every day on set I'd tell myself: don't screw up. It wasn't born out of anxiety, it was just pragmatic. You've been given a really great opportunity - it's my job to make it jump off the page. Not to make it less than Woody's offering. But I say that to myself every time. I'm not particularly needy and I'm not particularly anxious. I don't look for a director to tell me I'm doing a good job, or that I'm great. I don't need to be stroked. It's more my own yardstick.
For me it felt less about the period and more about the gaze. If the cigarette was held in a certain way and perceived by the camera in a certain way, it was because it was viewed through the prism of someone's desire, rather than the prism of the period.
[on working with Sally Hawkins on Blue Jasmine (2013):] Sally's got the biggest heart of anyone I've ever met. I clung to her like a life raft.
[on meeting her El aviador (2004) costar] My father died when I was young. And Alan Alda looked just like my father. And I would watch M.A.S.H. (1972) five days a week, just to imbibe him and say hello. So when I eventually met him, my God, he must have thought I was some sort of mad person. I ran up to him as though I was seeing my dad.
[on Sarah Paulson] When I first met her, on the set of 'Carol', I was floored by her buoyancy, her irreverence, her left-field sense of humor and her devotion to her craft. She brings with her, in work as in life, the sense that anything is possible. Anything.
Since Carol premiered this year at the Cannes Film Festival, Cate Blanchett has—once again—landed on the Best Actress short list. Her transcendent acting, style, and glowing skin get regular play (expect more as awards season gears up), but what lies beneath the porcelain perfection? Here, five things you may not know about Cate Blanchett.
1. Though Blanchett was born and raised in Australia, her father, Robert, was actually a Texas-born navy man who met Blanchett’s mother, June, after his ship broke down in Melbourne. Robert put himself through night school back in the States and returned to Australia to marry June. When Blanchett was 10 years old, her father died of a heart attack; in 2007, she recalled the day he died in an interview with The New Yorker. “I was playing the piano,” she said. “He walked past the window. I waved goodbye.” Because she didn’t give her father a final hug, Blanchett now cannot leave her home without giving her family members a proper farewell. “I developed this ritual where I couldn’t leave the house until I could actually physically say goodbye to everyone.”
2. Before her Oscar-winning roles, Blanchett’s first claim to fame was a 1990s commercial for the famous Australian cookie Tim Tams. In the television spot, Blanchett plays a woman who frees a genie from a lamp and receives three wishes (sound familiar?), but Blanchett’s cookie-craving character asks only for an unlimited supply of Tim Tams.
3. Blanchett had a blink-and-you-missed-it cameo in 2007’s Hot Fuzz, playing the surgical-masked girlfriend of Simon Pegg. Director Edgar Wright explained how her cameo came to be: “In a weird way, this whole Cate Blanchett thing was sort of a slight kind of joke on that. ‘Let’s get an Oscar winner in there but not see her face.’ And she was totally up for that joke. She loved it.” Not only was Blanchett quite the sport, she even gave her fee to charity. “And this is why Cate Blanchett goes to heaven,” Wright said. “She is one nice lady.”
4. The Australian actress has won two Oscars, but she has broken many more Academy Award records. Blanchett is the only actress in history to be nominated for the same role, playing Elizabeth I in both 1998’s Elizabeth and 2007’s Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Her Oscar win for portraying Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator made her the first person to win the award for playing another Oscar winner. And her nomination for her role in Todd Haynes’s I’m Not There, in which she was cast as a Bob Dylan alter ego, also won her a notable distinction: Blanchett was one of three women to have ever been nominated for an Oscar for portraying a man. “I wanted to be him,” Blanchett has said of the singer. “It’s the first time I ever had that feeling. I actually wanted to be Dylan. Ultimately, he just really didn’t care. He’s on his own path.”
5. Blanchett’s playwright husband, Andrew Upton, has an unusual keepsake from her role as the elf queen Galadriel in the Lord of the Rings series: prosthetic ears. “I’m afraid that is true [that Andrew kept the elf ears],” she has said. “They’re not full ears, either—they’re little prosthetic tips that fit on the top of your ears to make the point. But they’re cute—and a bit weird.” Blanchett seems like she has a bit of a soft spot for the props, too. “But, to be honest, I basically did [Lord of the Rings] so that I could have the ears,” she once joked with The Guardian. “I thought they would really work with my bare head.”