Date of Birth: May 14, 1969
Place of Birth: Clayton, Victoria, Australia
Sign: Sun in Taurus, Moon in Taurus
Relations: Husband: Andrew Upton (script supervisor)
Education: Attended University of Melbourne; National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney
BORN ON NEW Year's Day in 1969, the Australian actress was raised in Melbourne, with an older brother and a younger sister. Her father, a Texas-born advertising executive who she says "lived quite fast and died incredibly young," when Cate was ten. Blanchett recalls that a friend of the family instructed the children to be "quite good," for the benefit of their grieving mother. That instruction seems to have stuck with Cate.
After high school, the future Oscar nominee decided to double-major in fine arts and economics at the University of Melbourne. The dream waned after her sophomore year, and she ventured to England, but she was promptly deported for not having the correct visa. Her travels led to Egypt, where she got her first screen exposure… as an extra in a boxing movie. She returned to university, but her heart wasn't in economics. Instead, she auditioned for – and was accepted into – the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney. Fate had found Cate.
After graduation, Blanchett won two Sydney Theatre Critics Circle Awards, including one for her performance opposite Geoffrey Rush in David Mamet's controversial Oleanna. Cate cemented her passion for the stage (which, she says, has less "preciousness" than film) with performances in The Tempest and Hamlet.
It wasn't until 1995 that Blanchett secured a feature film, Paradise Road. Other films followed immediately, as director (Gillian Armstrong) after director (Shekhar Kapur, Elizabeth) insisted they must have Blanchett and no other, and producer after producer shrugged and acquiesced. Now, those same once-reluctant producers are puffing their chests and claiming they had the foresight to "discover" the Oscar nominee.
Oscar and Lucinda was Blanchett's first major leading role, and it wasn't all that "major." Few people saw the bizarre love story that co-starred Ralph Fiennes, but those who did were immediately struck by Cate's screen presence. Some didn't even have to see the whole film. Shekhar Kapur knew he had his Elizabeth as soon as he saw the trailer for Oscar and Lucinda. The rest is a different kind of Oscar history.
As for her personal life, Blanchett is mum. "I'm not a very public person, and a lot of my really close friends have nothing to do with this industry," she said recently. "I think if you move constantly within the same circles you can feel like movies drive the universe, and they don't." What we do know is that Cate is married to story supervisor Andrew Upton, who she met while shooting the dark comedy Thank God He Met Lizzie. The couple makes their home in Sydney; Blanchett isn't keen on the Hollywood lifestyle, but neither does she want to spend "90 percent of [my life] in the air." Cate seems to be determined to fit in as much work as possible before starting a family. She juggles stage and screen work, and following Elizabeth, has become one of the most sought-after actresses of her generation. Audiences are set to get an eyeful of Cate as the millennium approaches, as John Cusack's wife in Pushing Tin and "my first cameo!" in The Amazing Mr. Ripley, which stars Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow. And she'll get back to the period pieces as Lady Chiltern in Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband.
2000 Dreamtime Alice
1999 Pushing Tin
1999 An Ideal Husband
1999 The Talented Mr. Ripley
1997 Oscar and Lucinda
1997 Thank God He Met Lizzie
1997 Paradise Road
1994 Police Rescue
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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