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Cate Blanchett Biography

The statuesque beauty began her distinctive acting career as a student at Sydney's National Institute of Dramatic Art, after doing undergraduate study in art history and economics at Melbourne University. In Los Angeles Magazine, fellow Aussie thespian (and Elizabeth co-star) Geoffrey Rush recalled seeing Blanchett in a student production of Electra. "[My housemate] had alerted me that she had an astonishing young woman in her class, and I went to see the play," Rush related. "Indeed, she was an extraordinary performer."

Blanchett graduated from the NIDA in 1992 and began appearing on television (notably, in episodes of the Australian television series Police Rescue) and in theatrical productions staged at the Sydney Theatre Company, making her impact two years later playing the female lead in David Mamet's Oleanna. She considered the script to be such a "misogynistic piece of crap" that she was compelled to take the role on as a challenge, and she was rewarded for the effort with a Sydney Theatre Critics Circle Rosemount Award for Best Actress. The production also afforded the relative newcomer her first chance to work with — and, in character, to accuse of sexual harassment — one of her biggest fans, Geoffrey Rush.

After earning further praise for work in Hamlet and The Tempest, Blanchett essayed her first high-profile film, the 1997 Bruce Beresford feature Paradise Road, rounding out an ensemble cast that included Hollywood heavyweights Glenn Close and Frances McDormand. Her next big-screen production, Oscar and Lucinda, placed Blanchett in the enviable position of love interest duty to Ralph Fiennes. The movie's theatrical trailer caught the attention of Indian-born director Shekhar Kapur, who happened to be in the midst of a casting search for an actress capable of portraying Queen Elizabeth I as both a young woman and as a powerful monarch. Names like "Madonna" and "Bette Midler" had been mentioned — for goodness knows what reasons — and Kapur had also been considering Titanic talent Kate Winslet … until he laid eyes on Blanchett.

"There was something about [Cate's] face that was timeless," Kapur explained to the Herald. "I was aware that I was making a period film and I wanted it to be contemporary."

Thus, Blanchett jumped from the arms of Ralph to those of the actor's baby brother, Joseph, who portrayed Elizabeth's first love, Lord Robert Dudley, in Kapur's sumptuous historical drama about the turbulent early days of the reign of the formidable queen. "I'm working my way through the Fiennes family," Blanchett told the Herald. Not that the actress is likely to succumb to such tempting leading men off-screen — she and her husband, screenwriter, Andrew Upton, wed in 1997, despite a less than auspicious start. "He thought I was aloof and I thought he was arrogant," Blanchett confided to Vanity Fair in March 1999. "But once he kissed me, that was that." The couple endured an excruciating separation while Blanchett filmed Elizabeth, and now the two travel together whenever possible, living out of a suitcase "the size of a small African village."

Perhaps influencing Blanchett's impulse to be glued to Upton at all times are childhood memories of the loss of her father, a Texan ad executive who died of a heart attack when Blanchett was 10. "The day Dad died, I was playing the piano, and he walked past the window and I waved good-bye," Blanchett recalls in Joan Sauer's book Brothers and Sisters: Intimate Portraits of Sibling Relationships. "After that, I thought I would have to kiss everybody goodbye before I left the house. It was like I had an obsessive-compulsive disorder. I'd just be going down the street to get some milk, and I'd do it." As she has become more famous, Blanchett has managed to preserve the privacy of the rest of her family: her mother, Joan; her older brother, Bob; and her younger sister, Genevieve.

Blanchett is perhaps best known for her role as Elizabeth I, Queen of England in the 1998 movie Elizabeth. This role earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, which she was widely considered likely to win (however the award instead went to Gwyneth Paltrow for Shakespeare in Love. Controversy over Paltrow's win remains to this day.) Blanchett later won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2005 for playing Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator. This made Blanchett the first person ever to garner an Academy Award for playing a previous Oscar-winning actor.

Already an acclaimed actress, Blanchett received a host of new fans when she appeared in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movies. She played the role of the High Elf Queen Galadriel in all three films.

Blanchett is currently reprising her role as Elizabeth I in the upcoming sequel tentatively entitled The Golden Age and is set to star as one of the Bob Dylans in the upcoming biopic I'm Not There.

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Cate Blanchett Pictures

I met a wonderful man in Australia, Andrew Upton. Two weeks after we met he proposed. A few weeks after that, we married."
"A lot of psychics told me I was an old soul, but I think they said that to a lot of people. It's nice to hear that you're an old soul, that you've been around the block once or twice. I think that's psychic flattery."

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