Catherine Élise "Cate" Blanchett
(born 14 May 1969) is an Australian actress and theatre director. She has
won multiple acting awards, most notably two SAGs, two Golden Globe
Awards, two BAFTAs, an Academy Award, as well as the Volpi Cup at 64th
Venice International Film Festival.
Blanchett came to international attention in the 1998 film Elizabeth,
directed by Shekhar Kapur, in which she played Elizabeth I of England. She
is also well-known for her portrayals of the elf queen Galadriel in Peter
Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Colonel-Doctor Irina Spalko in
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Katharine Hepburn
in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, a role which brought her the Academy
Award for Best Supporting Actress. She and her husband Andrew Upton are
currently artistic directors of the Sydney Theatre Company.
Blanchett was born in Ivanhoe, a suburb of Melbourne, the daughter of
June, an Australian property developer and teacher, and Robert "Bob"
Blanchett, a Texas-born U.S. Navy Petty Officer who later worked as an
advertising executive. The two met while Blanchett's father's ship USS
Arneb was in Melbourne. When Blanchett was 10, she lost her father to a
heart attack. She has described herself during childhood as "part
extrovert, part wallflower". She has two siblings; her older brother, Bob,
is a computer systems engineer, and her younger sister, Genevieve, worked
as a theatrical designer and received her Bachelor of Design in
Architecture in April 2008.
Blanchett attended primary school in Melbourne at Ivanhoe East Primary
School. For her secondary education, she attended Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar
School and then Methodist Ladies' College, from which she graduated, where
she explored her passion for acting. She studied Economics and Fine Arts
at the University of Melbourne before leaving Australia to travel
overseas. When she was 18, Blanchett went on a vacation to Egypt. A fellow
guest at a hotel in Cairo asked if she wanted to be an extra in a movie,
and the next day she found herself in a crowd scene cheering for an
American boxer losing to an Egyptian in the film Kaboria, starring the
Egyptian actor Ahmad Zaki. Blanchett returned to Australia and later moved
to Sydney to study at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, graduating
in 1992 and beginning her career in the theatre.
Her first major stage role was opposite Geoffrey Rush in the 1993 David
Mamet play Oleanna, for which she won the Sydney Theatre Critics' Best
Newcomer Award. She also appeared as Ophelia in an acclaimed 1994–95
Company B production of Hamlet, directed by Neil Armfield, starring Rush
and Richard Roxburgh. Blanchett appeared in the TV mini-series Heartland
opposite Ernie Dingo, the mini-series Bordertown, with Hugo Weaving, and
in an episode of Police Rescue entitled "The Loaded Boy". She also
appeared in the 1994 telemovie of Police Rescue as a teacher taken hostage
by armed bandits and in the 50 minute drama Parklands (1996), which
received a limited release in Australian cinemas.
Blanchett made her international film debut with a supporting role as an
Australian nurse captured by the Japanese Army during WW2 in Bruce
Beresford's 1997 film Paradise Road, which co-starred Glenn Close and
Frances McDormand. Her first leading role, also in 1997, was as Lucinda
Leplastrier in Gillian Armstrong's production of Oscar and Lucinda
opposite Ralph Fiennes. Coincidentally, Peter Carey, the Booker
Prize-winning Australian author of Oscar and Lucinda, had known
Blanchett's father, Bob, when both worked in the advertising industry in
Melbourne. Blanchett was nominated for her first Australian Film Institute
Award as Best Leading Actress for this role but lost out to Pamela Rabe in
The Well. She did, however, win an AFI Award as Supporting Actress in the
same year for her role as Lizzie in the romantic-comedy Thank God He Met
Lizzie, co-starring Richard Roxburgh and Frances O'Connor.
Her first high-profile international role was as Elizabeth I of England in
the 1998 movie Elizabeth, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for
Best Actress. Blanchett lost out to Gwyneth Paltrow for her role in
Shakespeare in Love but won a British Academy Award (BAFTA) and a Golden
Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama. The following
year, Blanchett was nominated for another BAFTA Award for her supporting
role in The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Already an acclaimed actress, Blanchett received a host of new fans when
she appeared in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings. She played the role
of Galadriel in all three films. The trilogy holds the record as the
highest grossing film trilogy of all time.
In 2005, she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing
Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator. This made Blanchett
the first person to garner an Academy Award for playing a previous
In 2006, she starred in Babel opposite Brad Pitt, The Good German with
George Clooney and Notes on a Scandal opposite Dame Judi Dench.
Coincidentally, Dench won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for
playing Elizabeth I, the same year Blanchett lost for playing the same
historical figure, albeit in a different category. Blanchett received her
third Academy Award nomination for her performance in the film (Dench was
also Oscar nominated).
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.
In 2007, she won the Volpi Cup Best Actress Award at the Venice Film
Festival and the Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe Award for portraying
one of six incarnations of Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes' feature film I'm Not
There and reprised her role as Elizabeth I in the sequel, Elizabeth: the
Golden Age.[ 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.
Blanchett and her husband started three-year contracts as artistic
co-directors of the Sydney Theatre Company in January 2008, with Giorgio
Armani as its patron.
She next starred in Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of
the Crystal Skull as the villainous KGB agent Col. Dr. Irina Spalko, and
in David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, appearing on
screen alongside 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
As of 2008, 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).
Blanchett provided a voice for the film Ponyo, and will next be seen on
screen opposite Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, to be released
on May 14, 2010.
Blanchett's husband is playwright and screenwriter Andrew Upton, whom she
met in 1996 while she was performing in a production of The Seagull. It
was not love at first sight, however; "He thought I was aloof and I
thought he was arrogant", Blanchett later remarked. "It just shows you how
wrong you can be, but once he kissed me that was that." They were married
on 29 December 1997, and have three sons, Dashiell John (born 3 December
2001), Roman Robert (born 23 April 2004) and Ignatius Martin (born 13
After making Brighton, England their main family home for much of the
early 2000s, she and her husband returned to their native Australia. In
November 2006, Blanchett stated that this was due to a desire to decide on
a permanent home for her children, and to be closer to her family as well
as a sense of belonging to the Australian (theatrical) community. She and
her family live in "Bulwarra", an 1877 sandstone mansion in the
harbourside Sydney suburb of Hunters Hill. It was purchased for $10.2
million Australian dollars in 2004 and underwent extensive renovations in
2007 in order to be made more "eco-friendly".
In 2006, a portrait of Cate Blanchett and family painted by McLean Edwards
was a finalist in the Archibald Prize, which is awarded the "best portrait
painting preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in Art,
Letters, Science or Politics".
Blanchett is a Patron of the Sydney Film Festival. She works as the face
of SK-II, the luxury skin care brand owned by Procter & Gamble. In 2007,
Blanchett became the ambassador for the Australian Conservation
Foundation's online campaign www.whoonearthcares.com — trying to persuade
Australians to express their concerns about climate change. She is also
the Patron of the development charity SolarAid. Opening the 2008 9th World
Congress of Metropolis in Sydney, Blanchett said: "The one thing that all
great cities have in common is that they are all different."
In early 2009, Blanchett appeared in a series of special edition postage
stamps called "Australian Legends of the Screen", featuring Australian
actors acknowledged for the "outstanding contribution they have made to
Australian entertainment and culture". She, Geoffrey Rush, Russell Crowe,
and Nicole Kidman each appear twice in the series: once as themselves and
once in character; Blanchett is depicted in character from Elizabeth: The
"If you know you are going to
fail, then fail gloriously!"
When asked what colour her hair is: "Look, it's one of the great
mysteries of the world, I cannot answer that question. I think I'm
vaguely blonde. To be perfectly frank, I don't know."
When asked if she has ever appeared in "Neighbours" (1985):
"Absolutely not. I'm an actress."
On the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy" "I had never done anything with
blue screen before, or prosthetics, or anything like that. "Lord of
the Rings" was like stepping into a videogame for me. It was another
world completely. But, to be honest, I basically did it so that I
could have the ears. I thought they would really work with my bare
"If I had my way, if I was lucky enough, if I could be on the brink
my entire life - that great sense of expectation and excitement
without the disappointment - that would be the perfect state."
It's part of my job. You can't play Veronica Guerin [puts on heavy
Strine] sounding like this. It just wouldn't wash. But what I find
fascinating about doing an accent - unless it's a farce - is that
it's not slapped on. [on doing many accents]
"I loved making it, I had a ball - cowboys and Indians. This is the
thing, I love doing things which I'd never envisaged before. And so
getting me on the back of a horse, with Tommy Lee Jones and shooting
guns and chasing Indians, it's just not something that I would have
expected myself to be doing." [On working with Ron Howard in The
The more you do it, the more you learn to concentrate, as a child
does, incredibly intensively and then you sort of have to relax. I
remember the first film I did, the lead actor would in between
scenes be reading a newspaper or sleeping and I'd think, "How can
you do that?"
Thank you. I so didn't expected this. I wore a really tight dress
that's very ungracious walking up those stairs. Thank you very much,
I sort of don't know where to begin. Playing Katharine Hepburn, I
absolutely did not expect to be standing here in front of you all.
But Hepburn aside, I actually would like to say, as an actor coming
from another country to this country, I am so astounded and amazed,
and grateful, at the power of the SAG union and what it does for its
members. And I hope that other countries, mine own included, you
know, is inspired by that - I think it's incredible. (SAG acceptance
speech Feb. 5, 2005)
On her disgust of how so many of her Hollywood peers have succumbed
to using face-paralyzing Botox: "It's not just women on film,
18-year-old girls feel pressure to do preventative injecting. I see
someone's face, someone's body who'd had children and I think
they're the song lines of your experience, and why would you want to
eradicate that? I look at people sort of entombing themselves and
all you see is their little pin holes of terror... and you think,
just live your life, death is not going to be any easier just
because your face can't move."
"I'm one of those strange beasts who really likes a corset."
"You know, when you see yourself on a big screen, I tend to watch
from behind my hands. There is absolutely the regret. You always get
that at the end of every project. That's what's great about theater:
at least every night you get the chance to go out and re-offend. I'm
endlessly disappointed, which is what propels me into the next
project, probably, not to repair the damage but to kind of hopefully
keep developing. Otherwise there's no reason to keep doing it, is