Five reasons why Cate Blanchett has Best Actress Oscar in the (designer) bag

Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine“) is all but certain to win the Best Actress Oscar for the following reasons: 

1. She gives the flashiest performance of any of the likely nominees
When it comes to Oscar, it’s often more about the “most” acting than it is the “best” acting. In this regard, Blanchett has two big advantages.

First of all, she plays what might be considered the most complicated character of the year. In fact, it’s almost as if she has a dual role. There’s the self-indulgent, pampered and snobbish socialite seen in the New York City flashbacks. Then there’s the self-indulgent, desperate and conflicted single woman trying to reinvent herself in San Francisco. By comparison, Judi Dench in “Philomena” and Emma Thompson in “Saving Mr. Banks” seem surprisingly simple. 

Second, the brilliant Blanchett is constantly acting to the camera. Her Jasmine is like an emotional roller coaster, with 100 minutes of ups and downs. She’s screaming and crying, downing martinis and Xanax, and prattling away as if her life (or in this case, Oscar) depended on it. Even in her quieter moments she’s reacting with a vengeance. The critics have taken notice to the loud yet layered performance. Academy members will, too.

2. She’ll probably win the Golden Globe
She may not be a slam dunk, but the odds seem stacked in her favor. Blanchett has long been a favorite of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., having first won this category fifteen years ago for “Elizabeth.”  She received her second prize for 2007’s “I’m Not There,” and even reaped bids for her non Oscar-nominated work in films like “Bandits” and “Veronica Guerin.” With Woody Allen receiving this year’s Cecil B. DeMille Award, a prize for his latest film’s star performer will be especially sweet. Don’t forget that HFPA members know that Blanchett is the Academy Award frontrunner and will likely want to crown her first. If she gets the Globe, her  “Blue” may be as good as Oscar gold.

3. She’ll almost certainly win the SAG Award
Blanchett is a true actor’s actor, and “Blue Jasmine” is an actor’s movie. It’s almost like watching theatre on the screen. (Remember that “Jasmine” has been described as a modern version of the classic drama “A Streetcar Named Desire.”) Sure, she faces competition from Sandra Bullock in “Gravity.” But it’s hard to imagine the thespian group preferring a performance in an outer space action flick. Even if Blanchett somehow loses at the Globes, she’ll quickly rebound with her SAG acceptance speech. And if she wins both awards, it’s almost unfathomable that she’ll leave the Dolby Theatre empty-handed come March.

4. She’s due for the Best Actress Oscar 
Four-time winner Katharine Hepburn once said that the right actors always win, but for the wrong roles. Ironically, that very thing is probably true of Blanchett – who claimed a supporting trophy for portraying Hepburn in 2004’s “The Aviator.” It was unquestionably a solid performance, but hardly the best role of her career. She lost her first leading actress race for her bravura turn in 1998’s “Elizabeth” to Gwyneth Paltrow for “Shakespeare in Love.” It seems that Hollywood has been wanting to pay back Blanchett ever since. With her much buzzed-about “Blue Jasmine,” the timing may finally be right.

5. Bullock has too many negatives 
Sandra B. in “Gravity” may be Blanchett’s biggest threat, and for good reason. She gives a heart-stopping performance in a rare critically acclaimed, bona fide blockbuster. However, performances in sci-fi/fantasy films seldom win. (Consider the losses of Alec Guiness in “Star Wars,” Melinda Dillon in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” Jeff Bridges in “Starman,” Sigourney Weaver in “Aliens” and Ian McKellen in “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.”) Single actor showcases also have a poor record. (Look at the Oscar failures of James Whitmore in “Give ‘em Hell, Harry!,” Tom Hanks in “Cast Away” and James Franco in “127 Hours.”) Finally, Bullock won four years ago for “The Blind Side.” Do voters really want to see her triumph again so soon?

All in all, the rules of awards gravity may keep Bullock grounded (and Blanchett bouncing) on Oscar’s big night.

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18 thoughts on “Five reasons why Cate Blanchett has Best Actress Oscar in the (designer) bag

  1. How has the academy seemed to want to give Blanchett a best actress oscar ever since she lost to Paltrow? I just don’t understand this sentence. Have academy members often said “I can’t wait to finally give her a leading oscar because she lost to Paltrow.” ? Also is Gravity really considered a sci fi or fantasy film? Odd, I just call it it fiction because the circumstances in the film are quite probable unlike Star Wars or Close Encounters or any of the other actor nominated films listed.

  2. Bullock gave the most physically and emotionally demanding role in the predicted bunch and pulled it off. I hoping she can pull the upset.

  3. I think had Bullock not won for The Blind Side, she’d certainly win this year. Yet, if she hadn’t won the Oscar, she wouldn’t have been cast in Gravity either. Blanchett will win for sure this year.

  4. I dislike lists like this that try to make predictions on previous wins or other awards and such. They act like the Academy is some nebulous entity that people fall into and out of favor with. Sure, there may be a handful of votes based on liking someone or thinking someone deserves one, but that’s rare. Most voters will watch the films and say “he/she/that” was the best. Yes, Blanchett will win this year. Why? Because she’s the best this year and most people think that way.

  5. Bullock gives an incredibly challenging performance in Gravity and she makes it unforgettable, probably the best acting job in contemporary cinema. What she does in Gravity is acting avant-garde in my opinion, her work combines acting in an extreme technological environment, a physical tour the force, a stage solo performance, long long close ups to be carried without reacting to other actors.
    Blanchett gives a good performance in the most classical award grabbing work possible… she is a great actress and Jasmine could have been gotten award attention to even a mediocre one. She can display every emotion an actor has in the tools box, I don’t see any challenge and I don’t see something unforgettable in that performance.

  6. Cate Blanchett’s Blue Jasmine win will be one of the strongest Best Actress performances of the last 10 years – along with Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose, Charlize Theron in Monster, Helen Mirren in The Queen. It’s the performances that made each of these films.

  7. She may win it but Meryl Streep should win for August Osage County. The depth of her acting ability in that film is so complicated and strong. It is better than Iron Lady and Doubt. We are underestimating Streep but she might win her 4th

  8. Bullock’s performance is the most complex and challenging, both physically and emotionally. Not just any actress could have pulled off the role; whereas the same cannot be said about Blue Jasmine, I.e. Julianne Moore, Annette Benning, Jessica Chastain, too name a few. Blanchett’s movie and acting seemed like it originated in the Lifetime network. In watching her film, she always made me feel like she was acting…it was too much and not in a good, life changing way. Bullock for the win should not be underestimated. She may lose the Golden Globe, but will win SAG and the Oscar. And rightfully so.

  9. Completely feel the opposite (to “Manny” post): Bullock’s performance was excellent, with a demanding physicality to it that Blanchett’s role didn’t have, however I can think of many actresses that also could have pulled it off, some in an even more gripping way (Jodi Foster, easily, and heck even Cate!). The reverse is true of the Jasmine character, played so interestingly by Blanchett that I can’t picture anyone else doing it at all. If someone else did, it would be such a different Jasmine and likely a prideful character that I have no sympathy for.. Blanchett made the character have such a human side that I pulled for her. Bullock’s was easier because we were all routing for her from the get-go, no convincing needed.

  10. Nobody can beat Cate Blanchett this year. Her performance is beyond analysis. Bullock has nothing to do on the list of nominees. Anyone could have done that job in Gravity.

  11. I like Sandra Bullock a lot, but Ellen Ripley this was not. And given that she has already won, and rather recently, I think she’s a slam dunk for a nomination but not even Cate’s biggest competition. Emma Thompson was wonderful and made her movie. Judi Dench is heartbreaking and Philomena is an unexpectedly shattering movie. Plus Judi has been on a roll for years, like Cate, so there may be a push to award Judi her first Lead Actress Oscar. She’ll probably win BAFTA, and she actually has a great chance with the Globes since they nominated Philomena and not Blue Jasmine (or Banks). What a wonderful year for the category it is. All three of these ladies are richly deserving. (Haven’t seen Streep.)

  12. That is the beauty of the Academy Awards, especially with this category. Sandra was phenomenal in Gravity. This will be her Oscar to lose because of the performance, the respect the voters have for her and the fact that she won four years ago will not hurt her, i.e. Hillary Swank, Jodi Foster, Tom Hanks to name a few. When the Academy likes and respects you, that is the result. Cate Blanchett is respected, hence her nominations, but she is by no means a slam dunk winner, as the writer of the post proclaims. But this America, and thus everyone is entitled to their opinions.

  13. You are truly delusional if you really think someone other than Cate Blanchett will win for Best Actress this year. Come on, this category has been a done deal since Blue Jasmine was released this past summer.

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