Catherine Élise "Cate" Blanchett is an Australian actress and theatre director. She has won multiple acting awards, most notably two SAGs, four 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 US 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 Oscar-winning actor/actress.
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 Theatre.
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 appeared opposite Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, released on 14 May 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 April 2008).
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 Golden Age.