SPOTLIGHT! And it's on.... Cate Blanchett!

This was a tough one, since I was going to capitulate and do an article on Emma Thompson, my favorite actress in the entire world. But that would have been totally predictable.

Instead, I'm going to focus on the woman who's a very, very close second: Cate Blanchett.

Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure when I first saw Ms. Blanchett, but I can certainly name a plethora of movies she's been in and tell you how much I love them. Cate has an old Hollywood quality to her, the classic beauty she possesses and the confidant yet sensual way she portrays her characters. Never once have I ever been disappointed in her performance in any movie. She has that innate talent that is instilled in kids from the UK since birth. (See: Sean Biggerstaff's Spotlight Segment)

Although the fact that she's Australian shouldn't throw you any.

I remember watching Elizabeth I and thinking to myself, "Wow. There are no words to describe this woman; they haven't been written yet." Not one moment went by that I didn't 110% believe that she was Elizabeth I, not some actress portraying her. She was cool (like 'ice', not 'awesome'), she was genuine, and she was almost ethereal in her beautiful gowns and her commanding voice. Whenever I read Elizabeth I's Speech to the Troops at Tilbury, I hear Cate's voice resounding through my mind. In fact, I read it in class and tried to inflict Ms. Blanchett's authority into it -- I can tell you right now, even though I was praised for my handling of the piece, I didn't even come close.

Cate has the Midas Touch, without the 'unable to hug or eat anything' thing. Everything she touches is gold. Whether it's playing the impossible part of an Elvin queen (Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings movies), or a harried teacher having an affair with a student (her Oscar-winning role as Sheba Hart from Notes on a Scandal), or even 3-minute cameos in comedies (Jeannie, Nicholas Angel's ex, uncredited in Hot Fuzz), she commands the screen with such aplomb and grace, it's like reading The Faerie Queene. She's Gloriana (which is an interesting coincidence, since Spenser wrote The Faerie Queene in tribute to Elizabeth I, a role played twice by Cate).

I have yet to see The Good German and I'm dying to see I'm Not There, the biography of Bob Dylan, a movie in which Cate's portrayal of Dylan stole the show. Critic Anthony Curtis praised her performance in "The Chronicle of Higher Education" : He especially praised Cate Blanchett. "[H]er performance is a wonder, and not simply because, as Jude Quinn, she inhabits the twitchy, amphetamine-fired Dylan of 1965-66 with unnerving accuracy. Casting a woman in this role reveals a dimension to the acerbic Dylan of this era that has rarely been noted. Even as she perfectly mimics every jitter, sneer, and caustic put-down, Blanchett's translucent skin, delicate fingers, slight build, and pleading eyes all suggest the previously invisible vulnerability and fear that fueled Dylan's lacerating anger. It's hard to imagine that any male actor, or any less-gifted female actor for that matter, could have lent such rich texture to the role."

That's right. Cate Blanchett, in short, is amazing, and one day I can only hope to meet her. Or, in the extreme of my fantasies, write a role fitting enough for her.

Here's to you, Cate. Never stop making movies. NEVER. Show all these "up and coming" wannabes who they're dealing with.


Neil Cicierega said...

She is pretty awesome. I can't wait for that Dylan movie, and I don't even listen to Bob Dylan.
Thanks for the ninjabread, by the way :)