Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No.19: Cate Blanchett

To celebrate the last decade 2010-2019, we are counting down the best actresses and discussing some of their most notable and memorable performances of the decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team has selected 30 actresses. Today, we write about Cate Blanchett – a winner of two Academy Awards, for Best Actress in “Blue Jasmine” and Best Supporting Actress in “Aviator.” The actress was additionally nominated in Best Actress category for her phenomenal roles in “Carol” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.”

The article below may contain spoilers. 

By Zosia Wijazka

Cate Blanchett‘s name is known all over the world. Australian actress captured the attention of the media in 1998, with her role as Elizabeth I. Since then, she appeared in more than 60 productions, including television and dubbing. Blanchett’s well-crafted talent, paired with the actress’s unique, incredible beauty, delivered the most profound, mysterious, and heartfelt female characters to the pop culture discourse in the last decade; characters are so well developed and acted that to this day we are still thinking about them. The woman won the hearts of the most loyal fans as Galadriel in “The Hobbit” franchise.

jasmine
Blue Jasmin © 2013 – Sony Pictures Classics.

However, in the years 2010-2019, the audience and media worshiped her roles in “Blue Jasmine” and “Carol” the greatest. The first one, written and directed by Woody Allen, Blanchett takes on the overwhelmed Jasmine French – the New York socialite, whose fraudulent husband is arrested, abandoning his never working wife on her own. Jasmine doesn’t have any other choice than to travel to San Francisco to live with her sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins), and her two sons. A once-wealthy woman brings chaos to the life of her family. On the verge of breaking entirely, she attempts to find a job and, again, establish her previously distinguished, sumptuous living.

Blanchett’s well-crafted talent, paired with the actress’s unique, incredible beauty, delivered the most profound, mysterious, and heartfelt female characters to the pop culture discourse in the last decade.

While the storyline is rather simple, without any twists and turns, the director takes on the character of Jasmine French and breaks it down, piece by piece. As the plot progresses, the audience has the opportunity to experience the entirety of Jasmine – her past, all shifts in her life, and woman’s mental health (which is getting worse day by day). The latter, admittedly, is the heart of “Blue Jasmine” and its success. Blanchett went beyond herself, portraying a broken woman. All the stages of mental degradation caused by the personal turmoil and people around her force Jasmine to the last and ultimate collapse. Allen decided to leave the ending open for the audience. This procedure makes “Blue Jasmine” and the main character even more collaborative. As the closing credits appear, we don’t know what will happen to Jasmine.

While the storyline is rather simple, without any twists and turns, the director takes on the character of Jasmine French and breaks it down, piece by piece. As the plot progresses, the audience has the opportunity to experience the entirety of Jasmine – her past, all shifts in her life, and woman’s mental health (which is getting worse day by day).

Blanchett’s character in Allen’s film is an example of a woman who is first neglected by her husband, then thrown on open waters without any kind of financial help. The similarities between Jasmine and another character portrayed by Cate Blanchet in “Where Did You Go, Bernadette?” are enormous. The latter, however, is supposed to be a lighter comedy that, too, responds to the younger audience (with the help of Blanchett’s daughter in the film). In both productions, the actress depicts women whose life got too hard for them to handle. In both cases, characters’ significant others turned out to be helpless to them. The aftermath, however, is different in both films.

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Carol © 2015 THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Another female character portrayed by the actress that captured many hearts was Carol Aird. In the direction of Todd Haynes and based on the screenplay of Phyllis Nagy, “Carol” is a compelling tale about the forbidden love of the 1950s. Young Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) works at the department store during the holiday season. It’s when she meets an incredibly beautiful and mysterious woman – Carol Aird. The latter finds herself in the middle of the messy divorce. That, however, doesn’t stop the older woman to fall for Therese. Both women struggle with their personal lives, yet they still find the light at the end of the tunnel – their intense and exceptional bond.

The love between two women was deeply frowned upon in the presented timeframe. The society thoroughly believed that it’s an abomination, and often, the solution was a conversion therapy. That’s precisely what had occurred when it comes to Blanchett’s character. To receive visitation rights to her daughter, Carol had to go through the series of therapy meetings that her ex-husband Harge (Kyle Chandler) commanded. It was a brutal, cruel procedure – the pain of the character is remarkably visible. The actress used all her talent and gave it all to Carol. Alongside Naggy and Haynes, Blanchett created a complex, mysterious, educated female character whose pristine beauty only adds to her personality. “Carol” profoundly influenced society, and, as mentioned above, the motion picture is very still in the pop culture discourse. It was one of the few LGBTQ+ themed films that had a happy ending (another film that positively surprised us with a happy ending was “Imagine You and Me”).

It portrayed the love that existed from the beginning of time, even in the 50s, where it was so incredibly hard to survive, loving the same sex. Mara and Blanchett’s chemistry was everything that the viewers can ask about. Alongside phenomenal direction and soundtrack, the tale of Therese Belivet and Carol Aird received ten-minute standing ovation during its premiere at Cannes Film Festival. The drama was nominated for six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, eight BAFTA Awards, and many more.

The actress used all her talent and gave it all to Carol. Alongside Naggy and Haynes, Blanchett created a complex, mysterious, educated female character whose pristine beauty only adds to her personality. “Carol” profoundly influenced society, and, as mentioned above, the motion picture is very still in the pop culture discourse.

As the end of the decade was nearing to the end, the actress in question appeared in the comedy “Ocean’s Eight” by Gary Ross. Alongside Sandra Bullock, Awkwafina, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sarah Paulson, she played Lou Miller.

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Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly.

In the new decade, Blanchett decided to focus on the small screen as it develops and slowly begins to be equal to the big screen. In 2020, we will have a chance to see the actress in the drama “Stateless” along with Yvonne Strahovski and Ryan Murphy’s “Mrs. America.” In the latter, Blanchett will portray Phyllis Schlafly – constitutional lawyer and movement conservative who was against the Equal Rights Amendment movement during the 1970s. Knowing the unbelievable talent of the Australian actress, we will receive a mind-blowing performance. Rose Byrne, Uzo Uduba, Elizabeth Banks, Melanie Lynskey, and more first-class cast will appear in the upcoming drama.

Let us know your favorite Cate Blanchett performance in the comments below.

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