NYFF51 Gala Tribute Honoree Cate Blanchett is set to receive the "Outstanding Performer of the Year Award" at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February. The festival in the California seaside enclave, which opens in late January, will present the honor in recognition of "her stellar performance in this year's Blue Jasmine."
In the film, directed by Woody Allen and co-starring Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard and Sally Hawkins, Blanchett plays Jasmine French, a deeply conflicted and complex woman whose life is imploding around her. Once a New York socialite, she travels to San Francisco to live with her estranged sister (Hawkins) to try and pick up the pieces of her life after her disgraced husband is sent to jail, accused of engaging in a Ponzi scheme.
"In her first collaboration with master director Woody Allen, Blanchett knocks it out of the park in the best performance of her already illustrious career," said Roger Durling, SBIFF Executive Director. "We’re so grateful to be able to celebrate her achievement."
At Alice Tully Hall last month, Blanchett gave a dose of self-deprecating humor and insight into her long career including Blue Jasmine, which awards prognosticators have tipped as an Oscar nomination shoe-in. Her foray into a career as a screen actor came when she was tapped to play an American. Certainly not the first time she would do so, but later roles likely proved much more lucrative. "I was traveling through Egypt staying at a hostel called the Oxford," noted Blanchett, speaking with Film Society's Kent Jones. "[My agent worked with someone] in the Egyptian film industry and they were looking for someone to play an American. I said, 'Well, my father is American…' and they were paying five Egyptian pounds and a free falafel. I had to play a cheerleader. It was a boxing film. The falafel never came, so I left…"
In September, it was revealed that Blanchett would direct her first feature, an adaptation of Dutch writer Herman Koch's novel, The Dinner.
A recipient of multiple Academy Award® nominations and a Best Supporting Actress winner for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator (2004), Cate Blanchett first received widespread attention in Hollywood in Gillian Armstrong’s Oscar and Lucinda (1997) opposite fellow NYFF honoree Ralph Fiennes. She followed the next year with her indelible Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award®-nominated performance as Elizabeth I in Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth (1998). A string of films followed, most notably Mike Newell’s Pushing Tin (1999), Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Sam Raimi’s The Gift (2000), Barry Levinson’s Bandits (2001), Gillian Armstrong’s Charlotte Gray (2001), and Lasse Hallstrom’s The Shipping News (2001).
In 2008, Blanchett was nominated for two Academy Awards®, as Best Actress for Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth, The Golden Age, and as Best Supporting Actress for her interpretation of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes’s I'm Not There, making her only the fifth actor in Academy history to be nominated in both acting categories in the same year. She has since added to her roster of major directors with roles in David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (2008), Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood (2010) and Joe Wright’s Hanna (2011) before reprising her role of Galdriel in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), which is the first entry in a second trilogy of the films by Jackson inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien.