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Oscar Trivia, Weekly: Everything Cate Blanchett

by Nathaniel R

As promised Wednesday mornings are for Oscar trivia! With Where'd You Go Bernadette in theaters, let's dive into Blanchett-related Oscar trivia. While it's true that no one is clamoring for Bernadette to be an Oscar contender, and Cate Blanchett is actually under some criticism for her performance for a surprise twist, any excuse is a good one for Oscar trivia. Yes? Yes! We shall approach the Blanchett Oscar trivia in three questions after the jump.

1. Who has the most similar track record to Cate Blanchett at the Oscars?

Jane Fonda with her second Oscar (and Shirley Maclaine)

Cate Blanchett has had 7 Oscar nominations, 4 in leading and 3 in supporting (though one of those "supporting" roles was a true lead (Notes on a Scandal), something that's totally driving up nomination tallies for modern stars in relation to their predecessors). From those 7 nominations she's won twice, first in supporting (The Aviator) and then in lead (Blue Jasmine). The most similar Oscar track records is... drum roll please... well, this depends on how you want to compare them. The answer is either JANE FONDA, MAGGIE SMITH, KATE WINSLET or GLENN CLOSE. 

Jane Fonda, like Blanchett, has had 7 nominations with 2 wins  but apart from a nod for On Golden Pond (1981) she was always competing in lead. No category fraud ever in that career. Maggie Smith has one less nomination than Cate but like the Australian goddess she has won in both of the categories. But if you're going by nominations only Kate Winslet and Glenn Close are the exact matches. They each have the  same split (4 leading and 3 supporting) though neither has won twice. (Shush, do not remind us that Glenn Close hasn't even won once. Shut up already!)

We realize this is an insane question but which of those four do you consider closest to Blanchett in career spirit, screen presence, and star persona?

2. Given "Bernadette," What is Cate Blanchett's Oscar Track Record Playing Title Characters?

Cate Blanchett as "Veronica Guerin"

Of Cate Blanchett's seven nominations, more than half come from playing titular characters! That's Elizabeth (1998), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Blue Jasmine (2013), and Carol (2015).  Is this common? No, it is definitely not common! But it happens more with men than with women. For instance, Dustin Hoffman also has more than half of his seven nominations coming from title characters. But just for fun we looked up a few Oscar favourite female stars. Only 7 of Meryl's 21 nominations come as titular characters. Interestingly, Jane Fonda, who so closely matches Blanchett in Oscar stats, has never been nominated playing a titular character. Klute and Julia, for instance, were the names of other actor's characters in those movies. Only 2 of Glenn Close and Bette Davis's nominations come from title characters, and only 1 from the Oscar-darling careers of other female powerhouses like Maggie Smith, Jessica Lange, Julianne Moore, and Kate Winslet.

Blanchett has played quite a lot of titular characters. In addition to the four Oscar nominated performances listed above she also headlined Oscar & Lucinda, Veronica Guerin, Charlotte Gray, and Where'd You Go Bernadette. That's 8 out of her 49 features, or 8 out of 44 if you lump all the Middle Earth franchise films into one.

3. What does the future hold for Cate Blanchett with Oscar?

Cate at a screening of Where'd You Go Bernadette

Cate turned 50 years old earlier this summer... and unfortunately that often means Oscar starts looking the other way. For multiple reasons the fifty-something years are hard on actresses. The leading roles start drying up (though it used to be the fortysomething years so...progress... baby steps) but they aren't yet old enough for the juicy old-lady roles (that now go to people like Mirren, Dench, Streep, and Smith.) Only 10% of supporting actress Oscars go to women in their fifties and Best Actress is much much worse with only two fiftysomething winners in Oscar's entire 91 year history: Shirley Booth in Comeback Little Sheba and Julianne Moore in Still Alice (coincidentally, they were both 54). But if she ever makes that Lucille Ball biopic that's been on her "to do list" for four years now, Oscar will probably have her back regardless.

Lately Cate the great has been halfheartedly threatening to retire but we don't think she will. Actual retirement for famous movie stars is fairly rare. Unless they're named Gene Hackman or Greta Garbo someone always lures them back. Those that do retire tend to just be on prolongued hiatus and pop up here and there (think Julie Christie, Warren Beatty, or Michelle Pfeiffer, maybe Jack Nicholson... we'll see).

Cate's Oscar-Nominated Performances Ranked


  1. Blue Jasmine (2013) -- a performance so great it should have won two Oscars
  2. Carol (2015)
  3. I'm Not There (2007)
  4. The Aviator (2004)
  5. Elizabeth (1998)
  6. Notes on a Scandal (2006) ... category fraud alert. so rude. But such a weird year in general for supporting actress. 
  7. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)... had absolutely no business being nominated!


Best of Cate's Oscar-Ignored Performances

with Matt Damon in "The Talented Mr Ripley"


  1. The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)
  2. Heaven (2002)
  3. The Man Who Cried (2000)


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Reader Comments (60)

I think Blanchett in the aftermath of Elizabeth did some great work in underseen movies like An Ideal Husband and Pushing Tin. She absolutely should have been nominated for Ridley, it's maybe my *favorite* of hers. And she managed to be pretty solid in The Gift and The Missing, two trainwreck movies that didn't deserve her.

It was actually post Aviator up until Benjamin Button where I was most "over" Blanchett. I liked her Aviator performance fine but couldn't imagine giving it an Oscar, I thought she was actively bad in everything she did in 2006, including Scandal which is an inexplicable oscar nomination whatever category you put it in (I realize she gets camp points for this performance, but I think otherwise she's actively terrible in it). I LOVED her Bob Dylan but the love was cancelled out by her HORRIBLE return to Elizabeth, a bad movie that she's bad in. It wasn't until Jasmine where I began to feel the love again (I don't love her the way many people do in that movie, would have given the Oscar to Amy and then Meryl, but she totally owns the movie). And then she topped herself with Carol and Truth. So it's weird that it's only recently I've become fully in the bag for her. I hope there are interesting projects along the way.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

As to your question, my first thought was Winslet but now I'm leaning Smith - but probably I just don't know. That's a very hard question.

I think (in either order) your top 2 of her Oscar-nominated performances pretty much have to be her top 2, right? That said, her work in The Talented Mr. Ripley remains probably my favorite turn of hers - just perfection in supporting. And I'm always pleased when you mention Heaven. It's too bad so few have seen it. It/her in it - so good!

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

Interesting trivia as always, but maybe that's because I'm a Blanchett fanboy:)

I think she closest to Geraldine Page actually, who also got nominated in both supporting and leading category several times and was very 'theatrical' in her most famous roles. But we all know that Page had wait a long time until Academy finally gave her the damn thing.

I also think that Blanchett will match Page's noms count, maybe even with the next Del Toro movie (I doubt the Lucy biopic will happen).

Finally, her best roles that were not nominated:
1. Oscar and Lucinda
2. Ripley
3. Cinderella.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterpawel

The academy needs to disregard the better performance of the nominees (Colman) and give it to the overdue (Close). It should only be individual performance of the year if no overdue actresses are nominated. You amass five nominations, then if you are good enough to be nominated again, you receive a free walk to the podium.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

The only Blanchett performance I didn't like was in The Shipping News. She wasn't about to let you forget she was playing a "bad girl" for one single second. Ugh.

I liked her in the second Elizabeth movie and was glad she was nominated.

Category fraud or no, I wanted her to win for Notes on a Scandal. In fact, she should have been a back-to-back winner with a win the next year for I'm Not There. Too bad the film is an excruciating film-school project and she doesn't really show up until an hour into it.

Favorite non-nominated performances:

1. Heaven
2. Manifesto
3. Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
4. Charlotte Gray
5. Little Fish

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

I've loved her from the beginning. Little Fish is my absolute favourite performance.
In terms of Oscar nominations, I'd think she will chalk up quite a number more, maybe not anywhere near Meryl's record (Saoirse Ronan may be the one in my opinion if she keeps doing great work) but a terrific run nonetheless. God bless Cate!

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJans

Shirley holding Jane's Oscar made me gayer (if that's even possible)

I wouldn't describe myself as a Blanchett fan.

You forgot her fantastic turn in Truth.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Ripley, Benjamin Button, and Heaven (so glad someone else remembered that one) are her best non-nommed.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterParanoid Android

It is always a pleasure to watch Cate. We have tickets for "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" and will find out for ourselves if it's worth the watch.

I think Cate delivered a magnificent and unforgettable in Blue Jasmine. Among her performances which I thought the Academy should have noticed were:

1. The Talented Mr. Ripley
2. Heaven
3. Veronica Guerin

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commentergoodbar

Films where Cate plays the title character:

"Thank God He Met Lizzie" with Richard Roxburgh and Frances O'Connor

I know they changed the name for the US release, but the Australian title for an Australian film surely counts as the real title...

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPaulT

Here I thought you liked her better in Carol than Blue Jasmine!

The Talented Mr. Ripley is so underrated all around. It should have had Oscar nominations galore in 1999 and would have made a fine Best Picture winner.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Best of Cate's Oscar-Ignored Performances (we only get to choose 3? OK). Here we go:

1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (director's cut, featuring the entire Gifts of Galadriel scene, her dialogue with Aragorn is majestic)

2. Coffee & Cigarettes (both genius and unique)

3. Truth (awesome performance, unquestionably Best Actress Oscar stuff, should've been released in 2016).

She hasn't stopped flirting with those top of the top directors, so another Oscar nom is inevitable in the following years. "Nightmare Alley" sounds awesome and it seems like she'd be the co-lead.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Bandits. I really loved her singing A total eclipse of the heart.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJorge

Just went on a youtube rabbit hole in the last hours thanks to this post...
I love Cate B.
I think she would certainly have more nominations if her movies came in the 80s or 90s, even if most of them are not great.
As a particular performance that no one thinks alot, she is great in Bandits and also deserving of a nomination for it.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

I meant The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring*

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Blue Jasmine is my favorite of her films.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

Beat of her Oscar ignored performances

1. Bandits
2. The Talented Mr. Ripley
3. Manifesto
4. The Gift
5. Cinderella

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMorgan (the 1st)

As far as I'm concerned, if Blue Jasmine and Carol were the only entries on her CV, that still would be an embarrassment of performance riches. Though I was pulling for Virginia Madsen in Sideways the year she won for The Aviator, I don't begrudge her that victory as she was my close second.

I've never had the reverence for her (or Streep or Kidman for that matter) that many tend to, but I've always respected what she brings to the table, especially the way she uses that glorious voice of hers. I'd say I've been least impressed with her work in Notes on a Scandal, which is all over the place. I doubt that anyone will ever match Meryl's nomination tally, let alone surpass it, but Blanchett probably has another 3-4 nods in her.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

1998 - Elizabeth (Leading) - Nominated
1999 - The Talented Mr. Ripley (Supporting) - Nominated
2013 - Blue Jasmine (Leading) - Winner
2015 - Carol (Leading) - Winner

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

Nathaniel, have you seen Bernadette yet?

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

I'd say her trajectory is more similar to Jessica Langes.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Little Fish is my favorite of the roles she had without a nomination, and I think, better than most of her Oscar-nominated performances (sans Carol and Jasmine). I wish it got more attention stateside.

She’s one of the best out there. I suspect she’ll get to 10 nominations. I could also easily see her snagging another Oscar like Bergman did in her later career. Either for a fun comic role (if she ever works with Anderson again), or for something where she’s just undeniable (like Jasmine).

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

I know people tend to go to BJ for her best nominated performance but I think she's better in Carol.

Her best non nominated turn is Veronica Guerin.

It's fairly obvious she'll be nominated again but maybe in another few yrs.

I think she was totally over rewarded with noms in 06 and 07.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

She deserved an Oscar for the prologue narration in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring alone. Maybe if some of her later scenes hadn't been cut she'd have been a nominee?

I love Elizabeth and Heaven and second the mention of her voice. Didn't care for her in The Life Aquatic, which seems like a mostly forgotten performance of hers.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterStephenM

I think Cate Blanchett is one of the greatest actors to ever stand in front of a camera. She's amassed an incredible array of fresh, interesting performances. What she did in Blue Jasmine is just beyond: nobody else could have given that performance. And onstage she's shockingly powerful: her Blanche DuBois left me breathless at regular intervals.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEricB

It may not be completely similar, but I wonder if Cate 2016-present is similar to Meryl 1990-94. They both have had to kind of throw noodles against the wall after a successful run as a dramatic actress to have a second act. Streep was also highly criticized for being too good, or too whatever, and then audiences rediscovered her again. I could see the same for Cate, once she locks into a role that really resonates and lets her be an ongoing big star. We want these exceptional performers to have long careers, otherwise life is too dreary.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJono

Agreed, The Talented Mr. Ripley was her best non-nominated performance---followed by Veronica Guerin (thank you HFPA!)

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRy

I respect her a lot - it's proving to be a great career. I'm not as enthusiastic about her Blue Jasmine performance as most, however: I think the acting is too visible there. I think Amy Adams in American Hustle was a bit deeper, and that Sandra Bullock in Gravity was more natural. I also, I'm afraid, thought she was a bit too mannered in Carol - even granted the 1950s melodrama style.

I do think Blanchett is excellent in I'm Not There. and in The Talented Mr. Ripley. And I enjoyed her in The Aviator. Always keen to see what she does next.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I see mannered comes up a lot with Cate,in what way do people think she is mannered and do people know what mannered acting consists of.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Why are you righteously angry about category fraud where leads go supporting but never complain when supporters go lead? @Nathaniel R

Blanchett is a Maggie Smith / Glenn Close / Jessica Lange. Olivia Colman is the new name for cancer. Doctor how long do I have to live? Going full McDormand: O-livi-a Col-man.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I still think the best thing she's done is I'm Not There. She definitely nailed Dylan in his electric phase and in his mannerisms and other little nuances. She was the star of the film but also did enough to not overshadow anyone else in the film as I think there wasn't enough attention towards Heath Ledger in his role as the actor who portrays Dylan in his personal life.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

The two actresses who comes to my mind that are most similar to Cate Blanchett in terms of Oscar nominations and wins are Maggie Smith and Jessica Lange because the three of them have similar number of nominations and they won supporting first and then the lead.
But the closest actress to her spirit and talent is absolutely Kate Winslet for me.

One of my favorite non-nominated performances is Coffee & Cigarretes because it took me some time to realize that she was playing both characters and i love when you don´t recognize the actor behind the character.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

Correction: Just Jessica Lange won first as supporting and then as lead, Maggie Smith was the opposite.

This post reminds me that she is the firs australian actor to win more than an Oscar, and don´t fu ** ing forgett it.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

That is a tough question. Of the choices I'd say she's closest to Glenn Close but of all current actresses I'd say she's closer in many ways to Jessica Lange.

Blue Jasmine is her best performance but the first Elizabeth is awfully close.

You forgot Deanna Durbin in stars who retired for good and she even more than Gene Hackman made sure she fell right off the earth as far as visibility went.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

/3rtful what a sicko!!!!

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

3rtful that comment is beneath you.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

That Olivia Colman is sickening and just way out of line. I am embarrassed that something like that is posted here.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGoodbar

I meant that Olivia Colman “COMMENT” is sickening... sorry about that.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGoodbar

I ADORE her. She is my Queen and will always be that. She blew me away back in 1998 with her performance as Queen Elizabeth. Just W O W

To me her career can be divided in two: before and after the Sydney Company job. She became a better actress showing more depth with doing less. I believe Liv Ullmann taught her well with the Ullmann inner acting showing in her face and eyes. Her performance is Blue Jasmine, Carol and Truth are good examples of just that

I think that her Oscar traction is a hybrid of Maggie Smith and Jessica Lange with a touch of Glenn Close

My favourite nominated performance is Blue Jasmine. It was like watching a documentary about the fall of Jasmine. Just incredible!

My fav non nominated roles are:
Coffee and Cigarettes: acting against herself. Should have been nominated
Manifesto: showcase of her range and immense talent
Little Fish: her most natural performance

But her best performance is as Blanche in the Liv Ullmann directed A Streetcar Named Desire play. Hats off!

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

/3rtful -- honestly i'm never angry about it because it never happens. and also because supporting performers are not regularly overvalued and are not at the top of the mountain so it's happy if they get a big star like reception. When big stars get in supporting nominations for leading roles they're just taking kudos away from character actors who rarely get them. I'd be okay with actors committing category fraud if they'd also return their star salaries (perhaps to the Actors Fund) since real supporting roles pay less money.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I feel like right now she’s just having fun. I don’t think she’s chasing award bait roles, she doesn’t have anything to prove right now, so she’s mixing up her love of theatre with fun movie roles. Oceans 8, Thor, the House with the Clock, Bernadette... it’s all fun theatrics. I’d bet she’s still top of most directors wish lists, and when she decides she wants to ‘get serious’ again, she’ll definitely be back in the Oscar race. But right now I don’t think she cares.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJWB

Meryl is technically also the title character in The devil wears Prada.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPablo

I would say both Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Nicole Kidman in The Hours were Supporting roles - at least that was how I had pegged them before the whole awards season got underway. And Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs won his National Board of Review award as Best Supporting Actor. I'll admit, these cases are not as egregious as Rooney Mara & Alicia Vikander in 2015 or Emma Stone & Rachel Weisz last year

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Agree with the comments about Blanchett's voice acting. It's so great we take it for granted.

That's an additional special effect that Kidman, Moore and Swinton just don't have; not even Streep.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Cate Blanchett made my own lineups for Veronica Guerin (Lead) and Hanna (Supporting). She was a clear win for me (among the nominated performances) with Elizabeth, The Aviator, I’m Not There, Blue Jasmine (a performance so incredible I got over how cruel I found the film to be to praise her for everything), and Carol (one of the best films and lead performances of all time).

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Thank you, PaulT, for mentioning THANK GOD HE MET LIZZIE. A wonderful film, and one of CBs best performances, as she has to play the bride reacting to the lead man's inner-turning-to-outer conflict.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

Cate Blanchett walks on water and never has to go to the bathroom. Her work in Thor was one of the best performances in the history of earth. This is the problem with fandom. People always take it too far with the praise.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGF Please

Actors who threaten us with retirement and then are back before the cameras? What about Daniel Day-Lewis? The first time he "retired" he was going to work as a shoemaker in the South of Italy. Now, he has announced that he is going to work in the world of fashion. That is, of course, until Steven Spielberg or Martin Scorsese come again, a-knocking at his door.
An actress who has been toying with the idea of retirement is Kristin Scott-Thomas. Then she decided to slow down. But right now she has two films in the can and two more in pre-production!

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Really hated her in The Aviator. Preferred Madden/Sideways. Really wished Cate won for I’’m Not There.
She completely shine in Benjamin Buttons, Ripley and love looking at her in Babel. (Surprised that Harvey Weinstein couldn’t cough up a Supporting for Ripley-but 1999 was a competitive year.)
I find her awful as a Russian in that Indiana Jones sequel.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTOM

Cate has been pretty honest that she is moving to television because there are more opportunities there. She has two TV series in development, and even Lucy and Desi is an Amazon production. I think it's a myth that all these great film directors want to work with her at 50, especially when she is not box office.

August 21, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCAA

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