The many colours of Cate Blanchett | Sunday Observer

The many colours of Cate Blanchett

2 May, 2021

Catherine Elise Blanchett AC (born 14 May 1969) is an Australian actress, producer, and theatre director. Regarded as one of the greatest actresses of her generation, she is noted for her versatile roles in blockbusters, independent films, and in her stage work in various theatre productions. She has received numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, 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 Golden Globe and 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) won 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 highest-grossing 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. 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.

Reception and legacy

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. 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.

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.” Blanchett’s performance in the film Carol was ranked as the second 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.”

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. She became a spokeswoman for and the face of SK-II, the luxury skin care brand owned by Procter & Gamble, in 2005. and brand ambassador for Giorgio Armani fragrances for women in 2013, being paid $10 million for the latter. She appeared in a 2019 advertisement for the Giorgio Armani fragrance, SÌ, filmed by Fleur Fortuné. 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.

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. She was ranked 42nd in the Empire’s list of the “100 Sexiest Movie Stars of All-Time” in 2013 and 31st in the same list in 2007. 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.

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. Another portrait of Blanchett was a finalist for the Archibald Prize in 2014.

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. 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.

In 2019, “Blanchett [was] among the 10 inspirational women [who were] … honoured with a larger-than-life bronze sculpture as part of the #StatuesforEquality campaign by public artists Gillie and Marc.” The bronze statues were unveiled on Women’s Equality Day: August 26, 2019 on Avenue of the Americas in New York City. Blanchett’s “statue is a creation based on a single image from the 2003 photoshoot by Matt Jones for Movieline’s Hollywood Life magazine.”