Blue Jasmine performance puts Cate Blanchett in pole position for Oscar.
Don’t you just love delivering good news to someone? To see Cate Blanchett’s face light up when I told her that I was her last interview of the day was quite nice.
When you interview someone in the morning they might not be quite warmed up yet. In the middle of the day, they’re tired after hours answering the same questions over and over again.
The end is in sight with the last interview, so you definitely see the celebs brighten up. Not that Cate would be grumpy — she’s far too elegant and classy. I had no choice but to be a big sook anyway. I’m a huge fan of hers.
A friend of mine once asked Paul McCartney: “Are you as brilliant as I think you are?” and that’s how I feel about Cate.
But she must get sick of the adulation. “Are you kidding me? It’s fantastic,” she laughed.
We were talking about her new role in The Monuments Men, in which she stars opposite heart-throbs George Clooney and Matt Damon.
The movie, directed by Clooney, is a comedy drama based on the true story of a team of Second World War soldiers attempting to rescue works of art from the clutches of the Nazis.
Cate plays Frenchwoman Rose Valland, who helped the Allies steal the priceless art back from the Germans.
Cate’s character transforms from a mousey, librarian type to a femme fatale, but I was disappointed — she’s so attractive I wanted her to go even further down the femme fatale route. Alas, reality put paid to that dream.
“You wanted more cleavage? So did George,” chuckled Cate. “If you see pictures of Rose, you would never have suspected her. She got away with doing what she did dressed that way.
“It was important to keep that part true. Sensible shoes, I’m afraid!”
Working with George Clooney is usually a good laugh, but I wondered if he was different as a director.
“No, I’ve worked with George as an actor once before (in The Good German in 2006) after he injured himself working on the movie Syriana,” she explained.
“He was in pain, but you’d never have known. He’s always buoyant, good-humoured and generous.
“He’s also always interested in shining a light on lesser-known parts of history, too.”
Of course I had to ask about George’s legendary pranks.
“He IS a joker. I’m a girl, so thankfully I don’t get pranked so much by him. Matt Damon really had to dodge some bullets. The Monuments Men was such a big film that George didn’t have as much time!”
To paraphrase an old joke, I don’t make predictions, and I never will. But I’m pretty confident about a certain Oscar winner I’ve predicted.
Cate has been named in the list of nominees for Best Actress, thanks to her role in the off-beat Woody Allen drama Blue Jasmine.
If I was a betting man I’d stick my mortgage on her beating the likes of Amy Adams and Judi Dench for that wee golden statue.
Even Sandra Bullock, who was fantastic in Gravity, doesn’t stand a chance. If you ask the bookies, who usually aren’t daft when it comes to these things, they think Cate is a shoo-in, too.
It’s not her first time, of course. She won the Oscar in 2004 for The Aviator, and has been nominated four more times on top of that.
“I don’t think I knew what happened,” said Cate, when I asked her about the night she’d won. I remember Tim Robbins presented me with the award. But I didn’t become conscious until I’d left the press room afterwards. I have no idea what I said.
“You’re in a room with people you admire, and then you have to stand up in front of them. It’s deep shock.”
I couldn’t let Cate go without mentioning my pal Sally Hawkins. She stars alongside Cate in Blue Jasmine and has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress. It’s no wonder — she’s one of the finest actors in the UK.
“Sally is your country’s pride,” beamed Cate. “One of the great pleasures of doing that film was to meet and work with Sally. She’s unbelievably talented and a rock — I loved every second working with her.”