BLANCHETT, Cate






Nationality: Australian. Born: Catherine Elise Blanchett in Melbourne, 14 May 1969. Family: Married to Andrew Upton, 1997. Education: Studied economics and fine arts at the University of Melbourne; graduated from Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art. Career: Appeared on the Sydney stage in Caryl Churchill's Top Girls , Timothy Daly's Kafka Dances , and David Mamet's

Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes in Oscar and Lucinda
Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes in Oscar and Lucinda
Oleanna , 1993; appeared in other stage plays in Australia, most notably with the Sydney Theatre Company and Belvoir Street Theatre Company; made guest appearances on Australian television, mid-1990s; earned international acclaim for her starring role in Elizabeth , 1998; starred in David Hare's Plenty on the London stage, 1999. Awards: Rosemount Newcomer Award, Sydney Theatre Critics Circle, for Kafka Dances , 1993; Rosemount Best Actress Award, for Oleanna , 1993; Melbourne Green Room Award nomination, for Hamlet , 1995; Australian Film Institute Award, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, for Thank God He Met Lizzie , 1997; British Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, London Critics Circle Award as Actress of the Year, Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress, Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, and Golden Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture (Drama), all for Elizabeth , 1998. Address: c/o Robyn Gardiner Management, P.O. Box 128, Surry Hills, NSW, 2010, Australia.


Films as Actress:

1996

Parklands (Millard) (as Rosie)

1997

Paradise Road (Beresford) (as Susan McCarthy); Thank God He Met Lizzie (Nowlan) (as Lizzie); Oscar and Lucinda (Armstrong) (as Lucinda)

1998

Elizabeth (Kapur) (as Elizabeth I)

1999

An Ideal Husband (Parker) (as Lady Gertrud Chiltern); Push- ing Tin (Newell) (as Connie Falzone); Bangers (Upton) (as Housewife) (short); The Talented Mr. Ripley (Minghella)(as Meredith Logue)

Publications


By BLANCHETT: articles—

"Heaven's Cate," interview with Howard Feinstein, in Detour (New York), February 1998.

"Cate's a Girl to Bet On," interview with York Membory in Evening Standard (London), 18 March 1998.

"Double or Nothing: He's So Fiennes and Ms. Blanchett's Not Bad Either," interview with Christine Hogan, in Australian Harper's Bazaar , 19 March 1998.

Interview with Angie Errigo, in Empire (London), May 1998.

"G'day to You Queen Bess," interview with Sheila Johnston, in Telegraph (London), 22 September 1998.

"Their Elizabethan Era," interview with Kim Williamson, in Box Office (Los Angeles), October 1998.

"Blanchett Comes Out of Nowhere Fast," interview with Judy Gerstel, in Toronto Star , 6 November 1998.

"The Queen of Elizabeth ," interview with Lewis Beale, in Daily News (New York), 10 November 1998.

"Cate Blanchett Gives Elizabeth a Human Face," interview with Peter Brunette, in Boston Globe , 14 November 1998.

"The Queen and I," interview with Howard Feinstein, in the Guardian (London), 28 November 1998.

"Let Them Meet Cate," interview with Mark Salisbury, in Premiere (New York), March 1999.

Blanchett, Cate, "Cate Blanchett on Crying in Public Places," in This Is London , 4 March 1999.

"Pale and Interesting," interview with Mick Brown, in Telegraph (London), 27 March 1999.

"Why the Elizabeth Star Has Taken Hollywood by Storm," interview in Vanity Fair (New York), May 1999.

"Why We Love Cate," interview with Jenny Cullen, in Australian Woman's Weekly , June 1999.

"Complicated," interview with Lesley White, in New York Times , 24 October 1999.

"The Talented Ms. Blanchett," interview with Melissande Clarke, in Los Angeles Magazine , December 1999.


On BLANCHETT: articles—

"In Profile," in Cinema Papers (Victoria, Australia), 29 May 1997.

Fitzgerald, Michael, "The World at Her Feet," in Time (New York), 26 January 1998.

Bowe, Kitty, "Queen Cate," in Harper's Bazaar (New York), 1 December 1998.

Sinclair, Tom, article in Entertainment Weekly (New York), 1 March 1999. Minghella, Anthony, "A Date with Cate," in Guardian (London), 18 April 1999.

"Cate Blanchett Rocks Hollywood," in Elle (New York), May 1999.

Barber, Lynden, and D.D. McNicoll, "Blanchett Reigns as Australian of Year," in The Australian (Surry Hills, New South Wales), 22 January 2000.


* * *


Of all the performers who emerged onto the international film scene in the late 1990s, Cate Blanchett was among the most promising. Her luminous good looks combine with a passion, intelligence, and versatility that are reminiscent of Meryl Streep. Although it is premature at this point in her career to cite her as Streep's acting equal, Blanchett is a performer who, like Streep, seamlessly inhabits her characters, making them believable despite their diversity in class, nationality, or life experience.

Upon graduation from Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art, Blanchett quickly established herself as an up-and-coming stage actress. She was the first performer to win two Sydney Theatre Critics Circle awards in the same year (1993), for Best Newcomer and Lead Actress, and further established herself by playing everything from Shakespeare to David Mamet on the Australian stage. Blanchett's first high-profile screen credit was in Paradise Road , a well-intentioned but cliched prisoner-of-war drama, in which she was cast alongside veteran actresses Glenn Close, Pauline Collins, and Frances McDormand. Next, she won the title role, opposite Ralph Fiennes, in Oscar and Lucinda , a Victorian-era romantic adventure. Blanchett gave a spirited performance while playing Lucinda Leplastrier, an eccentric, fiercely independent young woman raised on a ranch in the Australian outback. With her soul mate, the shy, guilt-ridden Oscar Hopkins, Lucinda shares a love of gambling and an inability to fit into society.

The energy and finesse Blanchett brought to the role made her a natural for the film that was to win her international stardom: Elizabeth , which like Oscar and Lucinda is a period piece featuring a spunky and determined heroine. Elizabeth is a dark, absorbing historical drama and political spectacle. It is set in England during the mid-16th century, with Henry VIII dead and the nation in religious turmoil. Mary I, who has taken the throne from her father, is a Catholic; Elizabeth, her younger half-sister, is a Protestant. At the outset of the story, Mary orders Elizabeth taken into custody, and she barely escapes with her life. But upon Mary's death, Elizabeth becomes England's ruler. At its core, Elizabeth is the story of the molding of a queen. It charts the manner in which Elizabeth—as embodied by Blanchett—is transformed from a fanciful young woman who thinks with her heart and not her head to the tough, venerated Virgin Queen of history. Elizabeth is a complex, demanding role, and Blanchett exudes a majestic dignity as her character matures.

In spite of her stardom, Blanchett accepted a supporting role in a film because she was intrigued by its story and interested in working with the cast and director. In Pushing Tin , a tale of conflicting New York City air traffic controllers, she plays Connie Falzone, a middle-class Long Island housewife-mother with a thick New York accent. Though the primary concerns of Elizabeth I are ruling her country, Connie's life focuses on her family and tuna casseroles. Yet Blanchett offered the same intelligence to the creation of both characters; she appears equally familiar with the inner beings of these altogether different women. In fact, Blanchett blends so seamlessly into Pushing Tin that it might seem unimaginable that she is the same actress who, scant months earlier, had starred in Elizabeth. Then, in The Talented Mr. Ripley , Blanchett added just the right shading to a character who is a pawn to the plot: Meredith Logue, a breathless debutante-social butterfly whose knowledge of the chameleon-like title character plays a significant role as the story develops. Here, the character of Meredith is secondary to the film's heroine, Marge Sherwood (played by Gwyneth Paltrow, whose performance a year earlier in Shakespeare in Love topped Blanchett's Elizabeth I for the Best Actress Academy Award). Another noteworthy part came in An Ideal Husband , based on the play by Oscar Wilde, in which she was cast as Lady Gertrud Chiltern, the naive, adoring wife of an indiscreet government minister.

Unlike those stars who start their careers on the stage and never return upon making their cinematic splash, Blanchett's dedication to acting is exemplified by her decision in 1999 to appear in London's West End in David Hare's Plenty —despite her being in demand for screen roles. Blanchett's signature screen performance remains Elizabeth I, but she appears to be at the beginning of a very promising career. It will be interesting to observe how her career evolves.

—Rob Edelman

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