- The Queen
- Catherine Elise Blanchett
- Melbourne Victoria Australia
- Directing Plays Winning Awards
- Classic Beauty Elegant Special Witty Unafraid Of Elf Ears
- Nothing-she's Perfect
A gifted performer who developed her talent at a young age, Cate Blanchett grew into exceptional actress who achieved international acclaim with her stunning Oscar-nominated turn as a young Elizabeth I in Shekhar Kapur’s “Elizabeth” (1998). Prior to that role, the engaging Australian found herself thrust in the spotlight with just her third feature, "Oscar and Lucinda" (1997), starring opposite Ralph Fiennes. As the headstrong proto-feminist heiress whose penchant for gambling draws her to a clergyman with the same predilections, Cate Blanchett delivered a star-making performance that garnered the attention of filmdom’s most esteemed directors. Alluring, yet elusive and possessing an innate intelligence coupled with malleable features – she sometimes seemed plain, but beautiful, often in the same shot – the actress quickly rose to international fame to become one of Hollywood’s most respected and revered talents.
Born on May 14, 1969 in Melbourne, Australia, Blanchett grew up in suburban Ivanhoe near the Yarra River. Her mother, June, a native Australian, was a schoolteacher and her dad, Robert, a Texas-born Navy seaman who wound up Down Under when his ship broke down, put himself through night school and had a career in advertising. But when Blanchett was only 10, her father died from a sudden heart attack. He was just 40 years old. Meanwhile, she developed a passion for films and putting on performances for her friends, which were later translated during her second year at the University of Melbourne. Originally an art history and economics major, Blanchett got her first real taste for acting after appearing in Kris Hemensley’s “European Features.” On a whim, she auditioned for a spot in the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, where she studied from 1990-92 and where, with her performance as Clytemnestra in a production of Sophocles’ “Electra,” she developed an early reputation as a gifted actress.
Although Blanchett left drama school with a solid reputation, she was by no means the hot go-to actress. But in 1993, she generated waves with her win for Best Newcomer at Sydney’s equivalent for the Tony Award with her graceful turn in “Kafka Dances.” That same year, she went on to earn accolades, as well as another award win – this time for Best Actress – for her turn as a female college student who brings charges of sexual harassment against her professor (Geoffrey Rush) in David Mamet's electric play "Oleanna" (1993). She later added the Shakespearean roles of Ophelia and Miranda to her credits, before playing Nina in Anton Chekhov’s "The Seagull" in Australia in 1997. Blanchett made her London stage debut in 1999 with a revival of David Hare's "Plenty,” playing protagonist Susan Traherne, whose life post-World War II is trapped in a permanent state of ineffectual dissent against the ensuing peace. Reviews on the play were scathing against both the play and Blanchett’s performance. Even years later, Blanchett refused to read another review of her work.
Blanchett shortly made her film debut in the short "Parklands" (1996), but soon landed her first feature role as one of the females interned in a Japanese camp in Bruce Beresford's WWII-era drama "Paradise Road" (1997). She further garnered attention – and the 1997 Australian Film Institute Best Supporting Actress Award – as one leg of a romantic triangle (completed by Richard Roxburgh and Frances O'Connor) in the darkly comic "Thank God He Met Lizzie" (1997). Her rising star status was confirmed when she landed the leading role of the Tudor monarch in the biopic "Elizabeth.” Holding her own in a cast that included Geoffrey Rush, Richard Attenborough, Joseph Fiennes and Christopher Eccleston, Blanchett delivered a brilliant turn as the young woman who grows into the stature of her office. By turns an emotional girl and a driven women, her Elizabeth was a multi-dimensional creation that earned numerous accolades including an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
After carrying a major film, it perhaps came as a bit of a surprise that her follow-up roles were predominantly supporting ones – such as with Blanchett exhibiting her comic side, replete with a New Jersey accent as the wife of air traffic controller John Cusack in "Pushing Tin" (1999). Later that same year, she was back in period clothes, first as the wife of a titled man being blackmailed in Oliver Parker's adaptation of Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband;” then as Meredith, a character created especially for the film "The Talented Mr. Ripley," a 1950s-era drama about a slick American (Matt Damon) who plots to kill a playboy (Jude Law) in order to assume his identity in Anthony Minghella's adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel.
Blanchett continued to alternate between showy supporting roles and strong leads. She demonstrated her chameleonic abilities essaying a Southern widow with psychic abilities in the Gothic thriller "The Gift" (2000), and on the heels of that film, was terrific as a gold-digging Russian chorus girl in "The Man Who Cried" (2001). The former was co-written by her "Pushing Tin" co-star Billy Bob Thornton, who based Blanchett’s character on his own mother. The actress remained busy and consistently employed, reuniting with Thornton in the comedy "Bandits," followed by a turn as Kevin Spacey's ex-wife in "The Shipping News” and the titular role in "Charlotte Gray" (all 2001). Meanwhile, Blanchett had a small, but significant part as the elf queen Galadriel in the epic "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy: "The Fellowship of the Ring" (2001), "The Two Towers" (2002) and "The Return of the King" (2003). Additionally, she acted opposite her "The Gift" co-star Giovanni Ribisi in "Heaven" (2002), Tom Tykwer's English-language debut.
Blanchett received rave reviews for her turn as the real-life crusading Irish journalist whose life is endangered by criminal elements when she pursues her mob investigation too far in "Veronica Geurin" (2003). In 2004, she was nominated as Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards for her dual performance as "herself" and a jealous relative in Jim Jarmousch's anthologist riff, "Coffee & Cigarettes.” Blanchett – who Leonardo DiCaprio at that time referred to as "the female Daniel Day-Lewis" for her chameleon-like qualities – tackled two wildly different roles in 2004. First, she played a pregnant female journalist caught in an off-kilter romantic triangle between an undersea explorer (Bill Murray) and his possible son (Owen Wilson) in Wes Anderson's comedy "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou." Next she captured the coltish, often haughty charisma and unforgettable New England cadences of Hollywood superstar Katharine Hepburn – one of Howard Hughes' (DiCaprio) more serious paramours in director Martin Scorsese's impressive Hughes biopic, "The Aviator." Blanchett was widely recognized for her performance and earned several awards for Best Supporting Actress, including, at last, the Academy Award. Blanchett's victory gave her the unique distinction of becoming the first actress to win an Academy Award for playing an Oscar-winning actress.
Blanchett was little-seen on the big screen for most of 2005, though she did star in the Australian-made thriller “Little Fish,” playing a recovering drug addict trying to get her life back in order when a criminal kingpin (Sam Neill) forces her to confront her greatest fear. She next starred in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s complex “Babel” (2006), a dense and heartbreaking look at confusion, fear and the depths of love. Set on different continents – Asia, Africa and North America – “Babel” told three separate stories brought together by a single random act of violence. Blanchett played an American tourist traveling with her husband (Brad Pitt) in Morocco when a stray bullet from a rifle crashes through their bus window, seriously wounding her and touching off a series of events – including the couple’s Mexican housekeeper (Adriana Barraza) trying to cross the border, a neglected Japanese girl (Rinko Kikuchi) scouring Japan for love in all the wrong places, and two Moroccan boys (Said Tarchani and Boubker Ait El Caid) dealing with their culpability in the shooting – that underscore the fear and confusion brought about by the failure to communicate.
She next starred in “The Good German” (2006), playing the former lover of a U.S. Army war correspondent (George Clooney) in post-war Berlin who is trying to escape the war’s aftermath – and her own dark past – before being discovered. Blanchett next co-starred in “Notes on a Scandal” (2006), playing an attractive new art teacher at a London high school engaging in an illicit affair with a 15-year-old student (Andrew Simpson) whose secret is guarded by the school’s obsessively voyeuristic history teacher (Judi Dench), a role that earned her a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture. Though she lost out to newcomer Jennifer Hudson, Blanchett was given a shot at redemption by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences when she earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
In 2007, Blanchett returned to familiar territory with “The Golden Age,” Shekhar Kapur’s sequel to “Elizabeth” that focused on the Virgin Queen’s relationship with Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen). Even more impressive, Blanchett – obviously a woman – essayed singer/songwriter legend, Bob Dylan in the unique film chronicling Dylan's life, "I'm Not There." So impressive was she by morphing into a man – and a quirky man, at that – that she won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, paving the way to an Oscar nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role at the 80th Academy Awards. Meanwhile, her second go-round as Queen Elizabeth earned Blanchett another Oscar nod that year, this time for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.
Cate Blanchett on the Web
Cate Blanchett: Style Evolution - StyleList From drab sweaters to glamorous gowns, the leading lady's certainly had some hits, and her fair share of misses, over the last two decades.
Cate Blanchett weathers storm in Georgetown | The Georgetown Dish In a season of hurricanes and quakes, Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett sought out a bit of stability on the historic streets of Georgetown Thursday. St. Georgetown author Carol Joynt and actress Cate Blanchett (Photo by: ...