Last weekend, I went to see Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine featuring Cate Blanchett and I walked out instantly knowing who our next Monday Muse would be. Cate’s performance stayed with me for days. Haunting, compelling and raw, it was one of those rare cinematic experiences in which the chasm between audience and projection melted, and I felt a complete and unnerving connection with the fictitious world on screen. I couldn’t get Jasmine out of my mind.
It got me thinking about talent, pure, raw talent. In a world in which anyone can be famous, there has to be something said for those individuals who remain as steadfast devotees to their craft, who remain oblivious to the buzz they so organically generate. My most vivid memory of Cate is from the 77th Academy Awards, in 2005. She won the award for Best Supporting Actress in The Aviator, and wore a pale yellow Valentino gown. It was one of those great moments for me, as a fashion designer, with great talent and great beauty colliding so sensationally. It followed from my first memory of her when nominated for Best Actress for Elizabeth, wearing the hummingbird embroidered Galliano gown in 1999. Cate wears clothes with a rare elegance and finesse, and simultaneously, but independently, maintains her identity as deeply respected actress. This multi dimensional nature of her character I can’t help but admire and applaud.
Cate Blanchett and her husband Andrew Upton have been the creative directors of the Sydney Theatre Company since 2008. They work together day in, day out for this institution, believing passionately in the preservation of theatre and performance. Credited with bringing international film and theatre directors into STC productions, Sydney Theatre Company chair Ian Darling has said – “They’ve transformed the company and the way many people feel about it”. Again going back to the idea that real craft and skill can get a little lost in the age of digital frenzy we live in, there is something so inspiring and refreshing about the dedication that has gone into this project. Cate draws so little attention to herself, yet regardless continues to succeed in proving herself to be a true ambassador of the arts.
I have no doubt that Cate will be nominated for an Oscar for her performance in Blue Jasmine, and indeed I have written this as a humble plea not only that she does, but that she wins. I can think of no one more deserving.