The biggest story among this year’s acting nominations is just how new so many of these actors will be new to the Oscars stage. Of the 20 nominated thespians, only 4 have been previously nominated. However, of those four with prior nominations, one of them just happens to be one of the best working actresses in the whole goddamned world.
With her Tár nomination, Cate Blanchett now has eight nominations over her amazing career, which brings her into a tie for 9th place of total acting nods. Her company includes Glenn Close, Geraldine Page, Jack Lemmon, Judi Dench, Peter O’Toole and Marlon Brando, which is pretty good company to keep. If she can win, and this race feels like a knock-down brawl between her and Michelle Yeoh, it will be her third victory, and that company would be even more impressive. A third Oscar for the Australian actress would have her tied for second for all-time acting Oscars and just one behind the leader who you get the feeling she can probably catch and surpass (Katharine Hepburn). Watching Blanchett is truly watching one of the best be amazing, and Tár may be a perfect example of that.
Let us rank all eight of her nominating performances and just marvel at what a brilliant force Ms. Blanchett is.
8. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2008)
Perhaps the most impressive thing about this nomination is that it is Cate’s second time being nominated for Elizabeth I. She would lose to Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose, which everyone kind of expected and no one was really that upset by. In fact, it’s not even the best Blanchett performance of that year! More on that later…
7. Notes On A Scandal (2007)
This is one of those great “the wheels come off the train” performances that Blanchett can do in her sleep, as you can just feel her life slipping out of her control as this movie goes on, sometimes in slow increments, sometimes in terrifying drops. Losing to Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls was no shame here, however, as she was the clear front-runner.
6. Blue Jasmine (2014)
No one, definitely not me, enjoys praising Woody Allen, but he sure knew how to get the best out of Blanchett as the socialite who has falled on hard times. It’s crazy that this is in the #6 spot despite the fact that it’s one of her two Oscar wins, and was deserved. But that just goes to show you how talented she is.
5. Elizabeth (1999)
In her first nomination, Blanchett showed that she was going to be a force to be reckoned with. I doubt even she would be able to grasp what a brilliant career she would go on to have, and she is able to be absolutely magnetic and mesmerizing in this film. She probably should have won here, but them’s the breaks.
4. The Aviator (2005)
This is one of these roles where you just have to remember THERE IS NOTHING CATE BLANCHETT CANNOT DO. She is always so great at creating interesting characters that it’s easy to forget her first Oscar win was for her portrayal of Katherine Hepburn in this Martin Scorsese classic. She brings such an elegance and charm to Hepburn that it makes you want to be playing a round of golf with her and Howard Hughes.
3. Carol (2016)
Here is how good Cate Blanchett is: CAROL IS NUMBER THREE! Her loss in this film is downright criminal and this performance is just everything all the time. Carol is one of those films that I’m surprised didn’t make more Best Of The 2010 lists. Fuck, this movie is great and Blanchett is so great in it.
This movie, which basically requires Blanchett to be on screen every frame of the movie, just feels like an actress working at the peak of her powers doing everything she knows how to do. It’s funny and moving and frustrating and aggressive and heartbreaking and loathsome. Lydia Tár is like a shark- always moving, always pulsing, always ready for the next thing. And Blanchett plays it in a way that is both admirable and disgusting.
1.I’m Not There (2008)
That’s right… nominated TWICE in 2008. Her character here is named Jude Quinn, but we all know she’s doing Bob Dylan. And man, is she ever. This performance is as electric as her character’s guitar that gets him (correct- she’s playing a man) in big trouble at a folk festival. Blanchett disappears into this roll and plays it fast and loose and hard and manic. And we are so lucky she is.