The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has kicked off a wave of tribute announcements today with the revelation that Cate Blanchett will receive this year’s Outstanding Performer of the Year award for her work in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.”
The Academy Award-winning actress has been a lock for Oscar recognition for her performance as a deeply conflicted and complex woman in the throes of her unraveling upper crust world ever since the film was released by Sony Pictures Classics in July. And she’s in good company with this honor, as previous recipients include Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Viola Davis (“The Help”), James Franco (“127 Hours”), Colin Firth (“A Single Man”), Penélope Cruz (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”) and Helen Mirren (“The Queen”).
Blanchett won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2004 for her performance as Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator.” She was also Oscar-nominated for 1998’s “Elizabeth,” 2007’s “Notes on a Scandal” and even double dipped in 2008 with “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” and “I’m Not There.” It’s a safe assumption she’s on her way to nomination number six with Allen’s latest.
“In her first collaboration with master director Woody Allen, Blanchett knocks it out of the park in the best performance of her already illustrious career,” SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling said. “We”re so grateful to be able to celebrate her achievement.”
It’s not the first time a festival has taken the opportunity to salute Blanchett with “Blue Jasmine” in the ether. Just last month the New York Film Festival offered up a Gala tribute to the actress. HitFix’s Guy Lodge used that as a cue to do the same. In praising his favorite of her Oscar nominated performances, “I’m Not There.,” Lodge wrote that the work was “a wickedly funny stunt that reflects the political, social and sexual curiosities of an entire generation, but also a spiny, specific feat of individual characterization, not to mention a damn good [Bob] Dylan impersonation. It’s a performance that could be a cold technical exercise and winds up warmly, playfully alive.”
Blanchett will also be seen this year in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and next year in George Clooney’s “The Monuments Men.” She will receive the SBIFF honor following a tribute to her career on Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara.
Previously announced, Forest Whitaker will receive the festival’s Kirk Douglas Award at its annual fundraising event on Dec. 15.
The 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival runs Jan. 30 – Feb. 9, 2014.