A Tribute to Cate Blanchett and TÁR’s North American Premiere at 49th Telluride Film Festival

Hi, everyone!

After the world premiere of TÁR in Venice, Cate Blanchett is Telluride-bound this time as Telluride Film Festival will be paying tribute to her — she will be presented with the Silver Medallion right after the North American premiere of TÁR. The tribute will be held tomorrow, September 3rd (6:30pm MT). The following day, September 4th, there will be Q&A with Cate, Nina Hoss, and Todd Field after the 3:30pm MT screening.

It’s not easy (or always advisable) to try to explain the difference between a movie star and an actor. But as we gather to consider and celebrate Cate Blanchett’s singular achievements, what follows might help.

Movie stars tend to play iterations of themselves with slightly different wardrobe. Their bold-faced names can be as marketable as the films in which they appear. Movie stars are brands, and rarely stray from the familiar. Audiences are likely to remember their action stunts as much as their performances.

Actors, as Blanchett’s body of work attests, abhor repetition. They’d rather disappear into a part than appear on a billboard. Actors are thrilled by risk and embrace, rather than avoid, difficult and problematic characters.

Blanchett played the self-absorbed role of morning TV host Brie Evantee in DON’T LOOK UP (2021) and as Phyllis Schlaflyin the miniseries MRS. AMERICA (2021); she also played a version of herself and her cousin in COFFEE AND CIGARETTES (2003). Actors deliberately partner with distinctive storytellers, not franchise custodians. And when it comes to stunts, their cinematic feats involve leaping into a role, not out of an airplane.

Blanchett now might be as recognizable as most movie stars, but she’s always been—and continues to be—an actor first (she prefers it over actress). As befitting her talent, she has worked with some of the most celebrated directors: Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, PeterJackson, Ridley Scott and David Fincher among them. She has won two Oscars, for THE AVIATOR (2004) and BLUE JASMINE (2013).

Yet Blanchett’s career and her artistic inclinations are perhaps better defined by the lesser-known yet nonetheless distinctive filmmakers with whom she has collaborated, often more than once: Terrence Malick (KNIGHT OF CUPS, 2015; VOYAGE OF TIME: LIFE’S JOURNEY, 2016; SONG TO SONG, 2017), Todd Haynes (I’M NOT THERE, 2002; CAROL, 2015) and Gillian Armstrong (OSCAR AND LUCINDA, 1997; CHARLOTTE GRAY, 2001).

Now, in what seems like a match made in cinematic heaven, Blanchett stars in TÁR, the first movie in 16 years from writer-director-actor Todd Field (LITTLE CHILDREN, 2006). In the film, Blanchett plays Lydia Tár, a world-renowned conductor and composer whose rise to the top was due to her fierce, uncompromising drive. Blanchett’s fearlessness is hardly limited to her acting choices. When Blanchett headed the Cannes Film Festival jury four years ago, she led a protest targeting Cannes’ constant dearth of female filmmakers. “The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all,” Blanchett said at the time. “Let’s climb.” We are right behind you.

–John Horn

Source: Telluride Film Festival