Our 10 Favourite Cate Blanchett Performances

Andrew Buckle,

To celebrate the release of Todd Field’s remarkable new film, Tár, starring Australia’s own Cate Blanchett, we are honouring the symphony of masterpieces from one of the most magnetic and versatile actors in the business, whose performances across blockbusters, independent films and on stage have been widely celebrated. Cate has been decorated with many accolades throughout her career, including two Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards and she was again nominated – her eighth to date – for Tár at this year’s 95th Academy Awards. Tár is now available to purchase in the Movie Store on Fetch, with the rental option available from April 5.

With Tár fresh in our minds, and it is a film that enters that rare realm of feeling unshakeable, we considered how Cate’s incredible performance stacks up against the many other wonderful performances from her career to date. Check out the video above highlighting the symphony of Cate’s career and read on for some thoughts on these roles, and where you can watch them on Fetch. Note that these are listed in no particular order.

Jane Winslett-Richardson – The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)

In Wes Anderson‘s whimsical but underrated Jacques Cousteau-homage adventure-comedy an eccentric oceanographer, Steve Zissou (Bill Murray), leads an ambitious expedition to avenge the death of his diving partner. Determined to create his most successful documentary to date, Steve invites a crew of unusual characters aboard his aged vessel, the Belafonte, which include his estranged wife (Anjelica Houston), a devoted German first mate (Willem Dafoe), his maybe-illegitimate son, Ned (Owen Wilson), and a pregnant British reporter, Jane Winslett-Richardson (Blanchett), who comes along to chronicle the odyssey. Cate seamlessly steps into Anderson’s world of deadpan humour, joining a cast of established Anderson veterans. Jane becomes the source of attraction for both Ned and Steve, while her probing of Steve for her “cover story” adds to his mounting paranoia as much as it strokes his celebrity ego.

Stream now on Disney+.

Mary Mapes – Truth (2015)

Truth, a riveting drama about the behind-the-scenes journalistic process for television news, is based on Mary Mapes’ memoir ‘Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power’, detailing the Killian documents controversy and the final days for news anchor Dan Rather (portrayed by Robert Redford) and producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) at CBS News. In the months leading up to the 2004 Presidential Election, Mapes and her crew on ’60 Minutes Wednesday’ seek evidence to verify whether George W. Bush received preferential treatment during his Military duty. The accuracy of the segment, notably the authenticity of the documents that the allegations are based on, is questioned and Mapes and Rather are faced with charges of political bias. Cate delivers a powerful lead performance – the scenes with Redford are especially resonant – as she juggles the ethics of her investigative probe and the fallout of her decisions while also trying to maintain her composure as a mother.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store.

Lydia Tár Tár (2022)

This haunting psychological drama is a unique and note-perfect character study into the career of the fictional Lydia Tár, the renowned chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, masterclass teacher at the Julliard School and recently published author, whose life begins to unravel when sexual misconduct from her past is unveiled and she finds herself embroiled in a new pattern of favoritism and power abuse. Lydia’s relationships with her personal assistant, Francesca (Noémie Merlant), and her wife and concertmaster, Sharon (Nina Hoss), also become frayed as a result of the controversies. Tár was one of the most acclaimed films of the year, earning Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Director for Todd Field, and Best Actress amongst others, but ultimately was defeated in each mentioned category by Everything Everywhere All At Once. This film probes into themes of celebrity cancel culture and the morally-challenging consideration we often face when our inspirations can disappoint us and how much we’re willing to separate the artist from their art.

Buy now, or rent 5 April, in the Movie Store.

Jasmine Francis – Blue Jasmine (2013)

In 2013 Cate swept all of the major awards for her lead role in Woody Allen‘s late-career masterpiece, Blue Jasmine, including wins at the Oscars, SAG Awards and BAFTAs. Her impeccably detailed performance is full of many jaw-dropping sequences, but the supporting cast – including Sally Hawkins, Andrew Dice Clay, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Stuhlbarg, Louis C.K. and Max Casella – are all fantastic too. Cate stars as a rich Manhattan socialite who winds up moving into her working class sister’s (Hawkins) apartment in San Francisco after falling into debt and suffering a nervous breakdown. As she attempts to kick her heavy-drinking habits, pursue a new career as an interior designer, and maybe even fall in love again Jasmine’s misadventures are as amusing as they are affecting.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store.

Queen Elizabeth I – Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (1998/2007)

For Elizabeth, Cate received her first Academy Award nomination at age 29 after a swift rise to fame in 1997 with roles in Bruce Beresford’s Paradise Road and Gillian Armstrong’s Oscar & Lucinda. In Shekhar Kapur’s acclaimed biographical drama, Cate was catapulted to International prominence. This thrilling film is based on the early years of Elizabeth’s reign as the Queen of England, who takes the throne after the death of her half-sister Mary I, and following a period of house arrest on conspiracy charges. Just as Elizabeth transformed herself into a shrewd and advanced thinker after her unexpected elevation to power, Cate made the most of her opportunity with a fierce yet elegant portrayal. She would reprise the role in The Golden Age nearly a decade later, receiving another Best Actress nomination at the 2007 Academy Awards.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store.

Katharine Hepburn – The Aviator (2004)

Cate’s first Oscar win came for her exquisite portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese‘s The Aviator, an epic historical drama detailing the life of aviation pioneer and film producer, Howard Hughes (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio). The film won 5 Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Editing, alongside Cate’s Best Supporting Actress win. The film is focused on the period between 1927 and 1947 as Hughes becomes a successful aviation magnate. Among his many exploits, which included holding speed records and circumnavigating the globe, Hughes becomes romantically involved with legendary actress Hepburn, whose headstrong and spirited personality was portrayed to be instrumental in easing the symptoms of Hughes’ ever-worsening OCD and wild eccentricities. One doesn’t have to be familiar with the work of Hepburn or the era of Hollywood presented here to be wowed by Cate’s representation of the idol.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store.

Carol Aird – Carol (2015)

Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel, ‘The Price of Salt’, Todd Haynes‘ sumptuous period drama is a meticulously crafted film. Carol is set in the 1950s in New York City, and chronicles the love affair between a young aspiring photographer, Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), and a glamorous older woman, Carol Aird (Blanchett), who is in the midst of a messy divorce and trying to retain custody of her daughter. After a chance meeting at Frankenburg’s department store, where Therese works as a clerk, Carol brings Therese into her life which forces her to question her own ambivalence about her relationship with Richard (Jake Lacey) and she is drawn to the intoxicating allure of Carol’s generosity. Beautifully photographed on Super 16mm film, every frame looks like a painting and it feels like it was created in a completely different era and been long preserved. Blanchett and Mara share many wonderful scenes together. A treasure.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store.

Jude Quinn – I’m Not There (2007)

I’m Not There is an unorthodox biopic that is inspired by the music and many lives of singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Filmmaker Todd Haynes depicts different aspects of Dylan’s public persona by unconventionally intercutting the storylines of six different Dylan-inspired characters. Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Marcus Carl Franklin, Heath Ledger and Ben Whishaw portray the personas of poet, prophet, outlaw, fake, “rock and roll martyr” and “star of electricity”, with each one bringing a fresh new take on the life and legacy of Dylan. Cate’s portrayal of the “rock and roll martyr” Jude Quinn was the most-celebrated, an uncanny representation of mid-60s Dylan and brilliantly encapsulating the bold casting decision that epitomises the film’s desire to distort and manipulate the realities of biographical record that many biopics share no interest in doing.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store.

Sheba Hart – Notes on a Scandal (2006)

What else could possibly be expected from Cate by this stage? Going face-to-face with a bonafide screen legend in Dame Judi Dench in this intense thriller was one of the acting highlights of 2006. Notes on a Scandal centers on a lonely veteran teacher (Dench) who uncovers a fellow teacher’s (Blanchett) illicit affair with an underage student. Both Dench and Cate were nominated for their performances at the Academy Awards (Cate in the Supporting category) along with Patrick Marber’s witty screenplay and Phillip Glass’s phenomenal score.

Stream now on Disney+.

Meredith Logue – The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Just a year removed from her breakthrough performance in Elizabeth Cate would work with Anthony Minghella and alongside Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Philip Seymour Hoffman in this remarkable adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel. Tom Ripley (Damon) travels to Venice to convince Dickie (Law), a wealthy heir, to return to the United States. However, when Tom gets obsessed with Dickie’s lavish lifestyle he resorts to extreme measures to impersonate him. In a film full of standout performances one certainly can’t forget Cate’s stunning presence as the American socialite Meredith Logue, a performance that garnered her a second BAFTA nomination. Now, Meredith is not in fact present in the source novel but Minghella was so entranced by Cate that he added the character to the script (and ultimately expanded the role) specifically for her.

Buy or rent now in the Movie Store.

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