Cate Blanchett | Blue Jasmine
Having seen four of the five performances in the Best Actress category for this year’s Oscars, I can honestly say that there was not a single actress nominated in this category that disappointed. Sandra Bullock carried Gravity on her shoulders for what was essentially a one-woman film. Judi Dench’s portrayal of Philomena Lee was ripe with humor, charm, and wit. Amy Adams conned her way into our hearts with her multiple accents and enormous depth as Sydney in American Hustle.
However, it was Cate Blanchett that gave the best female performance of the year in Blue Jasmine, as she fully became the character of Jasmine, always teetering on the edge between sanity and mental collapse, going through the gamut of emotions from depression to excitement to sheer fury. Blanchett never missed a beat throughout Blue Jasmine and propelled many of the simply “meh” moments of the script into standout scenes.
While talking to oneself or screaming at the top of a person’s lungs could limit a performer, making them fall on the cliche or over-the-top, Blanchett handles each of Jasmine’s eccentricities with a real sense of understanding and grace. It’s a big performance, there’s no denying that, but it’s also a performance that is rooted in emotional depth, of the sad and sinking reality that Jasmine faces: the simple truth that the only things that ever made her feel anything in life were her possessions and her popularity. When these are both threatened by Hal’s cheating and then fully stripped away from her by the government, Jasmine is left with no sense of self, no certainty of who she is or she should become. She’s left stranded, like a house with no foundation, simply waiting for the final blow, the last moment that will cause the eventual and inevitable collapse.