Cate Blanchett: The Esteemed Actor Has A Lot Of Layers

Cate Blanchett is one of the world's most awarded actors. She's racked up an impressive seven Academy Award nominations (with two wins), seven nods at the BAFTAs (with three wins), ten nominations for the Critics Choice Awards (four of which she won), and an astounding twelve Golden Globe nominations (also with four wins). That's not to even mention her Tony Award nomination! It would be easy for all of that praise to go to someone's head, but it seems that Blanchett has managed to remain casual about the whole thing.

She's been in the business for decades, but she doesn't like to view her career as one long statement. "I don't think a lot about legacy," she told The Hollywood Reporter. She shouted out her Oscar-nominated turn in hit 2022 film "Tár," contrasting herself with the fictional conductor she played on screen. "...The character is very obsessed with legacy," she said, "and I think it's a way of side-stepping the experience of living your life, and so I don't think about those things." Well, if Blanchett won't sum up her legacy, we'll have to do it for her. The esteemed actor has a lot of layers, so read on for 14 facts about her extraordinary career in entertainment.

Her father died when she was young

Cate Blanchett's father Robert was born in Texas and served in the U.S. Navy, according to the Daily Mail. His ship was redirected to Melbourne after running into trouble around Antarctica, and it was there that he met Blanchett's mother, June. "They were short of men, so they went down to the port to pick up some sailors," Blanchett explained to the outlet. He left a few weeks later, but they corresponded by mail for three full years before Robert moved Down Under to be with June.

Unfortunately, Robert suffered from health problems, and he died of a heart attack when the future "Lord of the Rings" star was only 10 years old. However, she told GQ that she doesn't think it's as simple as saying she was led on her path to being an actor by her early struggle. "When your parents die so young, you just incorporate it," she reflected. "...Suddenly, once you've done a few interviews, there's an 'Oh, I see.' Like it's some algebraic equation. Life's not like that."

She does feel that her views on feminism were somewhat shaped by her upbringing with a single mother for much of her adolescence. "Even though she was a single, working parent, with all of the challenges that that entails, I, her daughter, identified as the feminist, but she didn't," Blanchett told Emanuel Levy. "And so there was a stigma around identifying as being a self-actualized woman who felt like they could achieve anything in line with their male counterparts."

Cate Blanchett grew up poor

Nowadays, Cate Blanchett regularly makes the Forbes list of the world's highest-paid actors. In 2018, for example, the business outlet estimated that she had pulled in a cool $12.5 million for her work. In 2010, they even named Blanchett the second-most-profitable female actor in the biz, estimating that for each dollar she was paid to be in a movie, that film's respective studio earned $27 back. These days, her estimated net worth tops out at an astounding $95 million.

Blanchett's life wasn't always so flush with cash. Speaking with the Daily Mail, the "Pinocchio" star revealed that she grew up financially disadvantaged, especially after the death of her father. "I don't want to expose my mother's challenges here," she told the tabloid, "but I will say that when we're talking about money troubles, I have known acutely what that means." As a result, Blanchett went to work even younger than she was legally supposed to and picked up a gig in a nursing home at 14. "I lied about my age, because I was officially too young to do it," she said, noting that she worked after school hours. "The cook would have prepared the food earlier in the day, and I'd reheat it and serve it and sit there and talk to the patients, and then I'd clear up and wash up and go." 

The Australian government thanks her

Cate Blanchett was born and raised in Australia, though you wouldn't necessarily know it from listening to her talk. The star of films like "Nightmare Alley" and "The House with a Clock in its Walls" has an easy ear for accents, she told Variety, and it's sometimes hard for even her to realize what she sounds like when she speaks naturally. "When I go home and I see my family, I sound much more Australian. It's so embarrassing," she confessed. "My kids go, 'Just stop it!'"

No matter what she sounds like when she gives interviews, it seems that Australia is proud of their native daughter. In 2017, she was named a Companion of the Order of Australia by Queen Elizabeth II, an honor bestowed upon Australians who have made invaluable contributions to the country. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Blanchett's recognition was meant to mark the fact that she is "a role model for women and young performers, and... a supporter of humanitarian and environmental causes." 

She received her medal the following year in a ceremony with Australia's Governor-General, who shared a photo with the Oscar winner on Facebook, the world-famous Sydney Opera House shining in the background. "A pleasure for Lynne and me to host an investiture ceremony to acknowledge one of Australia's most recognised performers," he wrote, adding, "a tremendous role model and someone that works tirelessly to promote humanitarian and environmental causes."

She achieved international fame for playing Queen Elizabeth

"Cate Blanchett was destined to break upon the international screen," director Shekhar Kapur told Variety, "and I was her conduit." Kapur directed the future superstar in her breakout role, 1998's "Elizabeth." The film followed Queen Elizabeth's rise to her reign, and Blanchett spoke with "Films & Sterren" about finding a new way into the historic figure as a character, including examining Elizabeth as a young person. "I think for her... ascending the throne, it was a blossoming," she said.

Her co-stars were full of praise, crowing to The Guardian about her. Geoffrey Rush wondered, "Who is this extraordinary creature?" while Christopher Eccleston mused, "She's got the perfect combination." The international film community agreed; Blanchett was nominated for an Oscar. 

Blanchett says that she avoids taking roles that try to channel her earlier success. This was the case when she turned down costume dramas resembling "Elizabeth." "I got offered myriad roles that were basically the same story with a different costume," she reminisced to Interview. "There was no potential for discovering anything new. There's no risk." Still, she returned to the role in the 2007 follow-up "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." The star told that she was resistant at first, ultimately concluding, "You don't ever want to feel like you're going backwards, so once I perceived that I could actually progress forwards through playing it, then it became exciting to me." Seems like it was all worthwhile, as she was nominated for yet another Oscar for the same role.

She's a stage star, too

Before she broke out on the international film scene, Cate Blanchett was quite content as a star of the stage. She told Vanity Fair that she initially went to university to study international relations, at times also considering architecture. However, when she acted in a school play, she realized that she needed to study drama instead. "I guess you could say it was sort of restlessness that led me to acting, because I just couldn't stand sitting through four years of the cattle runs in 1860," she quipped.

Now that she's a Hollywood A-lister, Blanchett still takes the time to return to the theater between film productions. In 2019, Blanchett starred in a risqué London play called "When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other." Speaking with The Guardian, she seemed to like the idea that audiences might be offended by the S&M-themed content. "I always see theatre as a provocation," the actor said.

Of course, balancing her selection of on-camera and on-stage roles takes some finesse. Blanchett explained to the South China Morning Post that she sees pros and cons to both forms of acting, reasoning, "When you are on the stage, you can really gauge it. Making a film is very piecemeal, so you don't know." She added that while she enjoys traveling to make films, "Fortunately, it's not that I have to stop the theatre to start a film career."

Cate Blanchett's married to a playwright

For about as long as she's been world-famous, Cate Blanchett has been married to playwright Andrew Upton. They got to know each other when Blanchett was starring in a stage production of Chekhov's "The Seagull." "He thought I was aloof and I thought he was arrogant," she recalled to Vanity Fair. "And it just shows how wrong you can be. But once he kissed me, that was that." As Blanchett shared on "The Ellen Show," the turnaround happened quite quickly, since the two hadn't clicked previously as social acquaintances. They were engaged, Blanchett said, within three weeks of being together — after Blanchett made what she called "the worst meal." She recalled, "I somehow decided that to stuff a trout with walnuts and goat's cheese would be a good idea. He ate it and then he asked me to marry him so clearly he was, I don't know, hallucinating." 

For many years, Blanchett and her husband — who calls her "Poss," short for "Possum" — worked together as co-CEOs of the Sydney Theatre Company. Giving a talk at the theater (via BRW), Blanchett said they were first offered the job while they were living abroad in the United Kingdom. "We thought it would be cowardice not to do it," she said, noting that they wanted to make an impact in their native Australia. Make an impact they did; while the nonprofit theatre typically ran at a loss, Blanchett and Upton managed to turn things around, running in the black instead. 

Her environmental activism is partially thanks to Ireland

Cate Blanchett is someone who isn't simply content with being famous; instead, she wants to use her fame to make a difference. For many years, the "Where'd You Go, Bernadette?" star has been an outspoken activist in favor of policies that reduce climate change, labeling the oncoming environmental catastrophe as one of the biggest threats facing humanity. At a sustainability conference in Ireland, Blanchett said the country led the way for bans on plastic bags and helped to shape her own thinking about possible ways forward. According to, Blanchett told the conference attendees she tries to ensure that the films she works on are environmentally-conscious. "People know to keep the plastic bottles away," she said of her filming conditions.

In addition to appearing in an Australian public service announcement about the climate emergency, the Oscar winner is also a podcast co-host for Audible, per Deadline. Her podcast, called "Climate of Change," even managed to score an interview with Prince William. "The solutions are out there," the royal told Blanchett, explaining that he feels optimistic that humanity will be able to work together to head off the worst of the crisis. Blanchett, too, retains hope that something can change before it's too late. At that conference in Ireland, she summed up governmental inaction, concluding, "What we're living through at the moment is a failure of imagination that things can be different. Of course they can."

Her children don't care that she's famous

Along with her husband Andrew Upton, Cate Blanchett has four children. Her sons are named Dashiell, Roman, and Ignatius, while her daughter is called Edith. Considering her own upbringing, Blanchett has been open about the fact that parenting has taken some getting used to. In fact, she told the Daily Mail, Dashiell gave himself a unique nickname because of what a trial-and-error process it can be to raise a kid. "My eldest son calls himself The Experiment because he says that's what my husband and I did on him," she relayed in 2014. "You can read as many books as you like before you become a parent, but you will make mistakes. Hopefully you will learn from them, but you still carry on making mistakes anyway."

Unlike a lot of famous offspring, however, Blanchett insists that her kids are not being raised to be fascinated by her fame. In fact, they couldn't care less. Her kids are "disinterested" in the fact that she's a world-famous celebrity, "in the best possible, healthiest way," she explained to Page Six in 2022. That being said, could Blanchett's eldest son be the next celeb kid to face accusations of being a "nepo baby?" According to People, Dashiell is following in his mother's footsteps and attending film school.

Her role in Tár was transformative

In Todd Field's 2022 drama, "Tár," which is set in the world of classical music, Cate Blanchett plays conductor Lydia Tár. Over the course of the film, Tár finds herself at the center of a whirlwind of controversy about her alleged inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. "It is a meditation on the corruptive nature of power," Blanchett said of the movie, pointing out to The Playlist that the film is inextricable from the time in which it was made. "We haven't even processed the ramifications of the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter, and the pandemic," she said. "We are altered by these things, positively and negatively. ... And so, any film that is alive now will have reverberations with those things that have happened to us as a species."

In order to complete her transformation, Blanchett had to do her homework. She noted to CBS News that the film takes place in Germany, which meant she needed to speak German. "It just would have been inauthentic if I had not," she reasoned. Naturally! She also had training in conducting, considering Lydia Tár is world-renowned for it. Blanchett got so into her musical training, in fact, that she found herself dreaming about her work. The actor revealed to Sky News, "I literally was having conducting dreams. I would wake up at 3:30am and my hand was up in the air — and we actually put that in the movie."

Blanchett's preparation paid off; she was nominated for an Oscar for the role. 

She re-wore her Oscars dress

Thanks to her decades spent on the red carpet, Cate Blanchett is a fashion icon. However, she told Vogue that she doesn't put too much consideration into her red carpet style, which she described as "ad hoc." She elaborated, "My taste is quite eclectic. The more I mature, and the more that I've been exposed to extraordinary people designing extraordinary things... you [end up] like a rolling stone; you accrue a sense of what's possible." One more thing helps Blanchett take risks with her looks: "I don't really care what people think in the end," she said. "I'm not dressing for anyone's approval."

Perhaps that's why Blanchett was happy to sign on to the Green Carpet Challenge, an initiative founded by Colin Firth's wife Livia to convince celebrities to re-wear their red carpet looks. At the opening of the Cannes Film Festival in 2018, Blanchett wore the same dress she accepted her Oscar for "Blue Jasmine" in. She released a statement to Australian outlet The New Daily, explaining, "From couture to T-shirts, landfills are full of garments that have been unnecessarily discarded. Particularly in today's climate, it seems wilful and ridiculous that such garments are not cherished and re-worn for a lifetime." Cate Blanchett, you are an outfit repeater... and we can't get enough.

She tried to turn her family vegetarian

In 2022, Cate Blanchett appeared on hit web series "Hot Ones," which features interviewer Sean Evans asking celebrities questions while they try an increasingly-spicy series of hot sauces. Eagle-eyed fans noticed that Blanchett opted for the show's vegan substitute rather than the typical chicken wings. That makes sense, considering Blanchett has been outspoken about her vegetarianism in the past.

Though the "Notes on a Scandal" star may avoid eating meat, it doesn't seem that her family goes along with her choices. Speaking with Julia Roberts for Interview, Blanchett recalled trying to convince her kids to give up meat when the family started raising pigs. In fact, emphasizing that pork and sausages came from pigs was one of the conditions Blanchett had when her husband wanted to adopt the pets in the first place. (Their names, for the record: Benson and Hedges.) "It was this Machiavellian vegetarian plan that I had for my kids, that they would form this deep connection with the piglets, which were very cute and smelled kind of like smelly people," she recalled.

However, Blanchett was shocked to find that it didn't matter at all to her family of carnivores. "The kids were just totally fine with that and I was horrified," she recounted. "My plan to turn my family vegetarian was a monumental failure."

Cate Blanchett, Producer

Cate Blanchett is a star of stage, screen, and television. She's an actor, a mother, a wife, a former CEO... and also, a producer! Blanchett heads her own production company, called Dirty Films. She explained her producing ethos and creative producer role in an interview with IndieWire: "Someone who has grown up on-set, who understands how a script is developed, and how a movie is made." However, she added, there's more to it than that; producers should also care about whether movies make it to theaters or wind up on a streaming service. "...They also have a financial sense and ability to understand where to place that movie and distribute it," she said. "That role is a dying art, and it's why a lot of actors and directors are stepping into it."

Blanchett's company primarily produces projects that she also stars in, including "Carol," "Tár," and television shows "Mrs. America" and "Stateless." Still, she told Variety, she takes producing seriously — "To find the right rhythm, the right wave, the right budget ties and the best way to film, it's not a science, it's an art."

That said, don't expect Blanchett to try directing any time soon. The actor, who has worked with such luminaries as Guillermo del Toro, David Fincher, Todd Haynes, Richard Linklater, and Peter Jackson, explained, "[I've been] spoiled by some of the most astonishing directors of all time, so it feels like an act of hubris to think that I could or would."

She's happy to be a lesbian icon

In 2015, Cate Blanchett played a lesbian in love with a younger woman in Todd Haynes' critically-beloved film "Carol." Speaking about the film with Variety, Blanchett hinted that she may have had same-sex relationships herself in the past, answering, "Yes. Many times." She added that she didn't ponder Carol's sexual orientation much while playing the character. "I don't think Carol thought about it."

Her character in "Tár" is also a lesbian. Speaking with Attitude Magazine, Blanchett said she liked that the film didn't make a big deal out of the character's sexuality. "Their same-sex relationship was just completely... it just was!" she reflected. "It's not the subject matter of the film, nor is the character's gender the subject matter of the film. It's a meditation on power." When the interviewer mentioned that Blanchett is considered a "lesbian icon" for inhabiting several high-profile queer roles, she responded, "Yeah baby! That's so nice! I don't know what it means, but it's nice!"

She's reconsidering acting

Cate Blanchett has been in the business for decades, and her career remains as successful as ever. Still, the "Thor: Ragnarok" star isn't sure how much she has left in her. After starring in a 2019 play in London, she remarked to The Guardian in 2019, "I think I've probably got about six months [of acting] left." It's a sentiment she's expressed before; in 2018, she told Harper's Bazaar, "I've got probably a couple more years left in it, before I lose my sanity."

She expanded on her concerns while speaking to Julia Roberts for Interview magazine. "As you get older, acting just gets more and more humiliating," she said. "When I was younger, I would wonder why the older actors I admired kept talking about quitting. Now I realize it's because they want to maintain a connection to the last shreds of their sanity." Comparing her profession to Shakespeare's "King Lear," Blanchett pondered, "Do I want to go that direction, or do I actually want to live a life?" 

She earned an Oscar nomination for her role in "Tár," and it seems that her success once more has her considering giving it all up. In an interview with "The Sunday Project" (via Outlook India), Blanchett said Lydia Tár has stuck with her so much that she still needs to process her transformation. Laughing, she said, "I don't ever want to work again." Cate Blanchett: relatable queen!