“If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously.”– Cate Blanchett
Catherine Élise Blanchett was born on this day in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in 1969. She is 44 years old.
She is the middle child born to Bob and June Blanchett. Her parents met by chance when her father — a Petty Officer in the US Navy — was on leave in Melbourne (his ship, The USS Arneb was docked in the harbor for repairs.)
She grew up in the Ivanhoe neighborhood where she went to Ivanhoe Girl’s Grammar School and Methodist Ladies College (secondary school). She attended the University of Melbourne where she studied economics and fine arts. She continued her education at the National Institute of Dramatic Art.
Her professional acting career started on the Sydney stage and she landed her first big role in Oleanna by David Mamet in 1992.
For her … performance, Blanchett won the Sydney Theatre Critics Circle Newcomer Award in 1993. She also received critical acclaim for roles in the theater productions of Hamlet, The Tempest and The Seagull. [Biography.com]
She made her film debut in 1997’s fabulous Paradise Road with Glenn Close and Frances McDormand. She plays a nurse, Susan, in an internment camp on Sumatra during World War II. The women of the camp form a vocal orchestra to keep their spirits up in the face of harsh conditions and cruel punishments.
Also in 1997 she made the period drama Oscar and Lucinda with Ralph Fiennes. The following year she starred as Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth. She won a BAFTA and Golden Globe for the role (and was nabbed her first Academy Award nomination). She mixed additional movie roles (An Ideal Husband, The Talented Mr. Ripley, The Gift) with a starring role in Plenty on London’s West End.
Middle Earth came calling in 2001 when Peter Jackson cast her as Galadriel in the film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring. Her performance as the beautiful, powerful Elf Queen was reprised in The Two Towers, The Return of the King and The Hobbit.
In the Aviator Blanchett took on the role of film icon Katharine Hepburn. She won an Oscar for her performance opposite Leonardo DiCapro in the 2005 film. The following year she continued her run of roles in which she starred opposite A list actors, incluidng Brad Pitt in Babel, George Clooney in The Good German and Dame Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal.
She rounded out the decade by:
- getting rave reviews as one of six actor embodying the persona of Bob Dylan in I’m Not Here
- repeating her performance as Elizabeth Rex in Elizabeth: The Golden Age (The first one was much better than this sequel.)
- playing a KGB agent, Irna Spalko, in Indian Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
- starring opposite Pitt again, this time in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
In 2010 Blanchett donned another long gown, this time for her role as Marion Loxley in Ridley Scott’s action packed version of Robin Hood. The following year she showed her very nasty side in Hanna.
Coming up for Blanchett is a Woody Allen film, Blue Jasmine, due out this July, and a duo of Terrance Malick films that are currently in post-production, Lawless and Knight of Cups.