Cate Blanchett was awarded the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on February 1st at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It was not the first time she won the award. However, this time it may have signified more than the her last award.
While it is almost cliché to say Blanchett has had a remarkable career as an actress, according to the film festival’s executive producer Roger Durling, her performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine was, ”the best performance of her already illustrious career”.
In the film, Blanchett portrays Jasmine French. A woman once coddled, chauffeured and pampered in the lifestyle only millionaires quite understand, she is dropped from her self-grandizing pedestal and is forced to face the realities of the life of a commoner.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the means to survive in a world that requires self-reliance. Financially broke and spiritually broken, French looses not only her identity and dignity, but her understanding of the world around her.
Clutching to keep a grasp on her illusions of entitlement, she alienates the last of her family and anyone and everyone that might be able to help prevent her from falling further into the mire of self-doubt.
Blanchett’s portrayal of French is a realistic illustration of the frail world we live in and the vicissitude that can change one’s fortune. While the story is more painful than inspiring, Blanchett’s performance is nothing if it isn’t inspiring.
While playing the roll of a rags to riches character often provides enough charge to carry an actor’s performance, the continued depletion of a character’s means and ego makes an actor’s performance incredibly difficult. Blanchett’s performance, on the other hand, seems to get better and better as the film reel feeds.
Blanchett’s performance earned her the award and few, if any, will argue she wasn’t the most worthy. Blanchett may be the closest female, in terms of pure talent, to the the undeniably best actor in Hollywood in the last 30 years, Daniel Day-Lewis.
The only shame that can come from Blanchett’s performance in Blue Jasmine is if she doesn’t win another award for it – The Academy Award.
Cate Blanchett is known for her ability to portray the lives of famous historical figures on screen, but her roll Blue Jasmine is no different… and better.