Cate Blanchett Charms at Film Festival

By Lauren Bray, edhat staff

Cate Blanchett received the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival on Saturday night to a sold out crowd.

Blanchett, who most recently starred in Todd Field’s TÁR, was welcomed back to the festival for the third time by executive director Roger Durling.

Scott Feinberg, executive editor at the Hollywood Reporter, walked both audiences and Blanchett herself through the actress’ storied career, bringing up stories, memories, and insights from across her impressive filmography. This included deep dives into projects like Elizabeth, Blue Jasmine, TÁR, and more, alongside a few different clip packages.

Throughout, Blanchett shared insights into her work, noting things like the sort of embodied nature of her approach and the eclectic quality of her career, collaborating with filmmakers like Anthony Minghella and Peter Jackson to defy expectations surrounding her career.

Blanchett also touched on the role of theater in her life, giving the actress her first job, helping to shape her understanding of key building blocks of the dramatic form, and even pushing her to take a break from the silver screen to head up the Sydney Theater Company.

Photo: Fritz Olenberger

TÁR director and collaborator Todd Field took the stage to present the award and deliver some heartfelt remarks. As a part of this speech, Field called out four key things Blanchett is: an activist, a humanitarian, a working mother, and the best-dressed woman in the world. Field also mentioned something especially key to Cate – her informed heart.

To close things out, Cate took the stage herself, thanking the festival and Field, leaving the audience with one last note. Speaking to everyone in the room, Blanchett advocated for approaching film through the lens of examining what is being done on screen, not just resorting to reductive “likes” and “dislikes,” a message echoed earlier on in the festival.

Blanchett has recently appeared in Guillermo Del Toro’s latest film, “PINOCCHIO,” and the mockumentary hit series “Documentary Now!” She’s begun production in Australia on Warwick Thornton’s “The New Boy,” in which she stars and produces via the production company Dirty Films. She most recently wrapped production on “Disclaimer,” directed by Alfonso Cuaron, in which she also stars and executive produces. 

The Outstanding Performer of the Year Award recognizes select individuals who have distinguished themselves with exceptional performances in film. Past recipients of the award include Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis, Sacha Baron Cohen, Adam Driver, Rami Malek, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan, Steve Carell, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Viola Davis, James Franco, Colin Firth, Penelope Cruz, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Heath Ledger, Kate Winslet and Charlize Theron.

The 38th Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs through February 18. Official events including screenings, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, and celebrity tributes, will be held throughout the city, including at the historic Arlington Theatre. Passes and tickets are on sale now at


Written by lauren

Lauren is the Publisher of She enjoys short walks on the beach, interesting facts about bees, and any kind of homemade cookie.

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