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Cate Blanchett Bio
Cate Blanchett (born May 14, 1969 as Catherine Elise Blanchett) is an Australian actress and theatre director. She has received international acclaim and many accolades, including six AACTA Awards, two Academy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and three BAFTA Awards. Blanchett came to international attention for her role as Elizabeth I of England in Shekhar Kapur’s 1998 film Elizabeth, for which she won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award, and earned her first Academy Award for Best Actress nomination. Her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese‘s 2004 film The Aviator brought her critical acclaim and many accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, making her the only actor to win an Oscar for portraying another Oscar-winning actor. In 2013, she starred as Jasmine Francis in Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine, for which she won numerous accolades including the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Blanchett is one of only six actors, and the only actress, to receive Academy Award nominations for portraying the same role in two films, accomplished in her case by portraying Queen Elizabeth I. She is additionally the only Australian to win two acting Oscars. A seven-time Oscar nominee, she has also received nominations for Notes on a Scandal (2006), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), I’m Not There (2007) and Carol (2015). Her other notable films include The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Peter Jackson‘s The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001–03) and The Hobbit trilogy (2012–14), Babel (2006), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014), and Cinderella (2015).
Blanchett has also had an extensive career on stage and is a four-time Helpmann Award winner for Best Female Actor in a Play. Her earlier roles include the title role in Electra at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (1992), Ophelia in Hamlet at the Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney (1994), Susan in Plenty in the West End (1999), and the title role in Hedda Gabler with the Sydney Theatre Company (2004). From 2008 to 2013, she and her husband Andrew Upton were co-CEOs and artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company. Her other roles on stage include Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire in Sydney, New York at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center (2009), Yelena in Uncle Vanya in Sydney, Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center and New York at Lincoln Center (2011), and Claire in The Maids in Sydney (2013) and New York at Lincoln Center (2014).
Blanchett has been awarded the Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society by the Australian government. She was appointed Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government in 2012. She has been presented with a Doctor of Letters from University of New South Wales, University of Sydney, and Macquarie University in recognition of her extraordinary contribution to the arts, philanthropy and the community. In 2015, she was honoured by the Museum of Modern Art and received the British Film Institute Fellowship in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the industry.
Blanchett’s first major 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. 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. Blanchett played the role of Ophelia in an acclaimed 1994–95 Company B production of Hamlet directed by Neil Armfield, starring Rush and Richard Roxburgh, and was nominated for a Green Room Award. 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”. She also appeared in the 50-minute drama short Parklands (1996), which received an Australian Film Institute (AFI) nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Blanchett made her feature film debut with a supporting role as an 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. Her first leading role was as Lucinda Leplastrier in Gillian Armstrong‘s romantic drama Oscar and Lucinda (1997), opposite Ralph Fiennes. Blanchett received wide acclaim for her performance, and earned her first AFI Award nomination as Best Leading Actress; she lost to Deborah Mailman in Radiance (1998). She won the AFI Best Actress Award in the same year for her role as Lizzie in the romantic comedy Thank God He Met Lizzie (1997), co-starring Richard Roxburgh and Frances O’Connor. By 1997, Blanchett had accrued significant praise and recognition in her native Australia.
Her first high-profile international role was as Elizabeth I of England in the critically acclaimed film 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. She became the first and only actress in the history of the Academy Awards to be nominated in this category for the part. The following year, Blanchett appeared in Bangers (1999), an Australian short film 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. She also appeared in the Mike Newell comedy Pushing Tin (1999), costarring Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie (critics singled out Blanchett’s performance), and the critically acclaimed 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.
Already an acclaimed actress, Blanchett received a host of new fans when she appeared in Peter Jackson‘s Oscar-winning blockbuster trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, playing the role of Galadriel in all three films. The trilogy holds the record as the highest-grossing film trilogy of all time. 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. In 2002, Blanchett appeared, opposite Giovanni Ribisi, in Tom Tykwer-directed Heaven, the first film in an unfinished trilogy by acclaimed writer-director Krzysztof Kieślowski. 2003 saw Blanchett again playing a wide range of roles; Galadriel in the third and final installment of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy (which won the Academy Award for Best Picture), the Ron Howard-directed western-thriller The Missing, 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, and the biographical film Veronica Guerin, which earned her a Golden Globe Best Actress Drama nomination.
In 2005, she won her first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her acclaimed portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese‘s The Aviator. This made Blanchett the first actor to garner an Academy Award for playing an Oscar-winning actor. She lent her Oscar statue to The Australian Centre for the Moving Image. That year, 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. Though lesser known globally than some of her other films, Little Fish received great critical acclaim in Blanchett’s native Australia and was nominated for 13 Australian Film Institute awards.
In 2006, she starred opposite Brad Pitt in the multi-lingual, multi-narrative ensemble drama Babel, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, which received seven Academy Award nominations, the Steven Soderbergh-directed The Good German with George Clooney, and the acclaimed Notes on a Scandal opposite Dame Judi Dench. Blanchett received a third Academy Award nomination for her performance in the latter film.
In 2007, Blanchett was named as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and also one of the most successful actresses by Forbes magazine. Blanchett 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.
She reprised her role as Queen Elizabeth I in the 2007 sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age, 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 actor 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. At the 80th Academy Awards, Blanchett received two Academy Award nominations—Best Actress for Elizabeth: the Golden Age and Best Supporting Actress for I’m Not There—becoming the eleventh actor to receive two acting nominations in the same year, and the first female actor to receive another nomination for the reprisal of a role. Of her achievement that year, critic 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”.
She 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 favorite villain from the entire series, and in David Fincher‘s Oscar-nominated The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, co-starring with Brad Pitt for a second time. On 5 December 2008, Blanchett was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard in front of Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre. Blanchett voiced the character of Granmamare for the English version of the film Ponyo, released July 2008.
In 2008, Blanchett and her husband became co-CEOs and artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company.
Blanchett returned to 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. The production traveled from Sydney to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. It was critically and commercially successful and Blanchett received critical acclaim for her performance as Blanche DuBois. The New York Times critic Ben Brantley said, “DuBois has been pulled gently and firmly down to earth by Ms. Blanchett and Ms. Ullmann … What Ms. Blanchett brings to the character is life itself, a primal survival instinct … All the baggage that any “Streetcar” usually travels with has been jettisoned. 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.”” The Washington Post‘s Peter Marks proclaimed, “What Blanchett achieves in the Sydney Theatre Company’s revelatory revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” amounts to a truly great portrayal—certainly the most heartbreaking Blanche I’ve ever experienced.” 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 … Blanchett doesn’t make the usual mistake of foreshadowing Blanche’s end at the play’s beginning; she allows Blanche a slow, fascinating decline … I don’t expect to see a better performance of this role in my lifetime.” Jane Fonda, who attended a New York show, deemed it “perhaps the greatest stage performance I have ever seen”, 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 … She took the layers of a person and just peeled them away. 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.” Blanchett won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The production and Blanchett received Helen Hayes Awards, for Outstanding Non-Resident Production and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Non-Resident Production award, respectively.
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. After its Sydney run, the production traveled to London, Paris, the Vienna Festival and Ruhrfestspiele. Blanchett and the production received wide acclaim. Blanchett was nominated for the London Evening Standard Award for Best Actress, and won the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role and the Helpmann Award for Best Actress. 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. The production and Blanchett received critical acclaim, 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.” The Washington Post’s Peter Marks dubbed the production Washington D.C’s top theatrical event of 2011. Blanchett received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Non-Resident Production, and the Helpmann Award for Best Actress.
Blanchett reprised her role as Galadriel in Peter Jackson’s adaptations of The Hobbit (2012–14), prequel to the The Lord of the Rings series, filmed in New Zealand. 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“. 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. She was head of jury of the 2012 and 2013 Dubai International Film Festival. The Sydney Theatre Company’s 2013 season was Blanchett’s final one as co-CEO and artistic director.
In 2013, Blanchett played Jasmine French, the lead role in Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine, costarring Alec Baldwin and Sally Hawkins. She received rave reviews for her performance, with some critics calling it the best role of her career (surpassing her acclaimed starring role in Elizabeth). The performance earned her more than 40 industry and critics awards, including LAFCA Award, NYFCC Award, NSFC Award, Critics’ Choice Award, Santa Barbara International Film Festival Outstanding Performance of the Year Award, Australian Academy Award (AACTA), SAG award, Golden Globe award, BAFTA award, Independent Film Spirit Award and the Academy Award for Best Actress. 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.
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. The film featured an ensemble cast, including John Goodman, Bill Murray, Hugh Bonneville, and Jean Dujardin. She voiced the part of Valka in 2014’s How to Train Your Dragon 2. The animated film was a critically acclaimed, box-office success, won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film and received an Academy Award nomination. Blanchett guest starred on the Australian show Rake, as the onscreen female version of Richard Roxburgh’s rogue protagonist, Cleaver. On 29 January 2015, she co-hosted the 4th AACTA Awards with Deborah Mailman.
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. Indiewire named Blanchett’s performance in Knight of Cups one of the 15 best performances in Terrence Malick films. She then portrayed Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s evil stepmother, in Disney’s live-action re-imagining of Charles Perrault‘s Cinderella and the 1950 animated film, to critical acclaim. She starred opposite Rooney Mara in Carol, the film adaption of Patricia Highsmith‘s The Price of Salt, reuniting her with director Todd Haynes. Blanchett is an executive producer on the film. She received Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, and BAFTA Award nominations for her performance in Carol. 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. Blanchett also appeared in Manifesto, Julian Rosefeldt‘s multi-screen video installation, in which 12 artist manifestos are depicted by 13 different characters played by Blanchett. 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.
In 2017, Blanchett is set to appear in Malick’s Song to Song, shot back-to-back with Knight of Cups in 2012. and will portray one of the female leads in Thor: Ragnarok. In May 2016, she was confirmed to portray Hela in the film. In 2018, Blanchett will star in the all-female spin-off of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise directed by Gary Ross, Ocean’s Eight, opposite Sandra Bullock, Mindy Kaling, and Helena Bonham Carter. Blanchett will also voice the sinister python Kaa in Andy Serkis‘ adaptation of the The Jungle Book titled Jungle Book, in which he will mix motion capture, CG animation, and live action.
Blanchett will develop and direct Australian drama series Stateless based on the life and controversial mandatory detention case of Cornelia Rau. The project is funded by Screen Australia and co-produced by Blanchett and Andrew Upton’s production company. In September 2015, it was announced that Blanchett would portray Lucille Ball in an untitled biographical film, written by Aaron Sorkin and produced by Ball’s two children. In November 2015, it was reported that Blanchett was in talks to appear in the film adaption of the best-selling book Where’d You Go Bernadette which will be directed by Richard Linklater.
As of 2015, Blanchett’s films have grossed more than $9 billion at the worldwide box-office. As of 2015, Blanchett has featured in seven films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: Elizabeth (1998), The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002 and 2003), The Aviator (2004), Babel (2006), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008).