Cate Blanchett – An Actress Of Note
As a Lead Character Actor, she comes to Elizabeth’s crown full circle with a synthesis of strong and memorable portrayals which should add texture to her performance as Elizabeth I in her latter years.
Transforming into Galadriel ( the Morning Star) , Lady of Lothlorien, guardian of Nenya, the ring of Adamant, one of the three given to the elves she earned screen immortality by bringing to the epic film, The Lord Of The Rings, a continual regal, ethereal presence with a short but pivotal performance that needed her luminosity to give a mythical character life. As with other actors of this film, her role might prove to be the key by which future generations will first come to know her.
When she took the daunting task to give a sensitive portrayal of Katherine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s, The Aviator (2004), Hollywood responded with an Oscar. Not only had she given an honest, nuanced interpretation of the late actress, but one that focused on her perceived strengths and guarded weakness. “We’re not like everyone else. Too many acute angles, too many eccentricities, We have to be very careful not to let people in, or they will make us into freaks.”
This is a role that could have easily backfired. Portraying an acting icon without becoming imitation or caricature is no small feat. To have captured the heart and light of her soul during this period in her life earned Cate Blanchett a great deal of respect as an “actors’ actor” of note, especially since it came so soon after Katherine Hepburn’s death. It also made Oscar history by becoming the first academy award to be won playing a previous Oscar winner
Born May 14, 1969 in Ivanhoe, Australia, to a Texas-born businessman and Australian schoolteacher, she comes from the distinguished acting school that includes Judy Davis, Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush and others. Her career began when she was eighteen on vacation in Egypt. “A fellow guest at a cheap hotel in Cairo asked me if I wanted to be an extra in a movie, and the next day found myself in a crowd scene, cheering for an American boxer who was losing to an Egyptian.”
Her first major stage role was opposite Geoffrey Rush in David Mamet’s Oleanna, 1993. Her first major cinematic role was in Oscar and Lucinda (1996). Elizabeth (1998) was the role that led to international attention, and an oscar nomination as best actress which she lost to Gwyenth Paltrow, Shakespeare In Love.
In a career that is marked by “character performances” which continually reaffirm her lead actor qualities it will be fascinating to see her transform those experiences into a seasoned insightful second portrayal of one of histories most remarkable women. Perhaps this will be the performance that earns her a second academy award.
Authors note: A review of Elizabeth, The Golden Age will be posted after the release of the film on October 12, 2007.