Friday, April 19, 2024

Oscar Front Runner Cate Blanchett Comes to New York, Everyone Loves Her


It’s been a whirlwind two days for Cate Blanchett, Best Actress pro-tem from Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.” On Wednesday night she got a Film Society of Lincoln Center tribute, preceded by a small swanky dinner in the private dining room at Alice Tully Hall with Alec Baldwin, Jim Jarmusch, “Blue Jasmine” producer Letty Aronson, and “ER” star Anthony Edwards (he and Cate and long time pals– who knew?) in attendance.

Yesterday afternoon Peggy Siegal wrangled not one but two Oscar Best Actors–Philip Seymour Hoffman and F. Murray Abraham– to a private lunch at Le Cirque. Newly minted Emmy winner Bobby Cannavale got a toast. Veteran actors like Dana Ivey, Rutanya Alda, Bob Dishy, John Gabriel, as well as Oscar winner Paul Haggis, CNN’s Piers Morgan etc got a chance to meet and greet with the incredibly affable Cate. A surprise guest: Kennedy Center Honors chief George Stevens, Jr.

The Oscar winner for “The Aviator” was seated right between Hoffman and the legendary Liz Smith, who couldn’t have been more pleased. And vice versa.

To dinner Blanchett brought as her date her 11 year old precocious son Dashiell, who looks like a Mini Me of husband, Australian director Andrew Upton. Their two other sons are waiting for her back in London, where Cate is filming “Cinderella.”

“When I tell people I’m doing Cinderella, they stop and look at me. I can see they’re thinking, you’re too old to play Cinderella!” She laughed.

“I play the evil step mother.”

“Blue Jasmine” isn’t Cate’s only movie this year. She has a small role in George Clooney’s big “Monuments Men” coming from Sony in December.

“I can’t wait to see it,” she said. “George has worked so hard on it.”

Of course she’s also in “The Hobbit” sequel “The Desolation of Smaug.”

Blanchett made for a very humorous Q&A following dinner, in Alice Tully Hall, with the festival’s programming director Kent Jones. At one point she recalled being an extra in a movie shot in Egypt way back maybe 20 years ago.  Suddenly a woman stood up and yelled, “And the director is here!” It was one of those odd, awkward public moments.

At lunch today she said, “There were 2000 people on that set and I barely stuck around. It’s not possible that man remembered me.”

Well, Cate has that effect on people.

PS You’ll be happy to know that 11 year old Dash was not interested in visiting any stores while he was here. “I like to read,” he told me, and that rattled off a list of books. This kid is going places!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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