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Cannes Film Festival picks Australian Actress Cate Blanchett to Head the Jury

The actress follows the Spanish master, Pedro Almodovar, who chaired the Cannes jury's 70th edition last May, a jury that awarded the top prize, Palm d'Or, to The Square by the Swedish helmer, Ruben Ostlund.

Gautaman Bhaskaran | News18.com

Updated:January 4, 2018, 3:47 PM IST
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Cannes Film Festival picks Australian Actress Cate Blanchett to Head the Jury
Image: Getty Images
Australian actress Cate Blanchett will head the main international jury at the Cannes Film Festival, running this year from May 8 to 19.

It seems that the Festival, headed by Thierry Fremaux, must have had in its mind a grievance aired a couple of years ago about lack of adequate women directors in the lineup. I am sure the appointment of Blanchett would silence such critics.

The actress follows the Spanish master, Pedro Almodovar, who chaired the Cannes jury's 70th edition last May, a jury that awarded the top prize, Palm d'Or, to The Square by the Swedish helmer, Ruben Ostlund.

Blanchett said in a note: “I have been to Cannes in many guises over the years; as an actress, producer, in the marketplace, the gala-sphere and in Competition, but never solely for the sheer pleasure of watching the cornucopia of movies this great Festival harbours.

"I am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of presiding over this year's jury. This Festival plays a pivotal role in bringing the world together to celebrate story; that strange and vital endeavour that all peoples share, understand and crave."

Blanchett is one of those actors for whom performing is a permanent delight, whatever the role she takes on on stage or screen. In film, always under the eye of great directors, she switches between independent ventures and lavish productions, and appears in the credits of all notable contemporary English-language cinema: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by Peter Jackson, Benjamin Button by David Fincher, Alejandro González,'s Babel The Life Aquatic by Wes Anderson, The Good German by Steven Soderbergh, and Coffee and Cigarettes by Jim Jarmusch. To this exhaustive list, we must add Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick, Sally Potter, Ridley Scott, Woody Allen and Todd Haynes.

In 2014, Blanchett won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Blue Jasmine by Woody Allen. In addition, she clinched the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Martin Scorsese's The Aviator. As the unforgettable Katherine Hepburn, this was the first time that an actress was winning the trophy for playing another actress. Incidentally, Hepburn had also won an Academy Award.

Blanchett has had several Oscar nominations: For Caro by Todd Haynes and Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth the Golden Age among others.

Away from cinema, she was the Co-Artistic Director of the Sydney Theatre Company from 2008 to 2013, and Blanchett has won awards for her work on stage in New York, Washington, London, Paris (she performed in Jean Genêt’s The Maids alongside France's Isabelle Huppert) and also in Sydney, of course, where she soared in Liv Ullman’s A Streetcar Named Desire – a film version which in 1951 made Marlon Brando a celebrity, a movie (first written as a play by Tennessee William in 1947 that won the Pulitzer Prize) where he introduced the T-shirt!

Blanchett has many movies lined up now. Among them is Maria Semple's adaptation, Where’d You Go Bernadette, directed by Richard Linklater. She can then be seen The House with a Clock in its Walls, directed by Eli Roth.

This year, the Festival begins on a Tuesday (instead of the customary Wednesday) and ends on a Saturday (not Sunday), and in weeks to come, one can expect a few more changes to annual event on the French Riviera which began in 1946 soon after the clouds of World War II disappeared.

(Author, entertainment and movie critic Gautaman Bhaskaran has covered the Cannes Film Festival for 28 years)
| Edited by: Sameeksha
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