2008 Santa Barbara International Film Festival

MODERN MASTER: Cate Blanchett

23rd ANNUAL FILM FESTIVAL JAN 24-FEB 3, 2008

Santa Barbara, CA – Academy Award winning actress Cate Blanchett has been selected to receive the 2008 Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Modern Master Award on Saturday, January 26, 2008, it was announced by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling.

Blanchett is one of the most gifted performers working today. She possesses an innate intelligence and ability to adapt completely to her characters, making her one of Hollywood’s most respected and revered talents.  She developed her talent at a young age, working extensively in theater in her native Australia.

She achieved international acclaim in 1998 with her stunning performance as a young Elizabeth I in Shekhar Kapur’s “Elizabeth,” which earned her a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, a BAFTA Award for Lead Actress, a Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination and an Oscar nomination

Blanchett returns this year in Kapur’s sequel “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” that focuses on the late 16th Century when Queen Elizabeth is faced with political and personal conflict: the threat from Spain to invade her country and the reality that she may never find true love, remaining the Virgin Queen forever.

She has had the opportunity to portray a wide range of characters in films by some of the most esteemed directors, such as Mike Newell’s “Pushing Tin,” Anthony Minghella’s “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” Barry Levinson’s “Bandits,” Lasse Hallström’s “The Shipping News,” Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Joel Schumacher’s “Veronica Guerin,” Martin Scorsese’s “The Aviator” (for which Blanchett won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn),  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Babel,” and others.  Blanchett will also be seen this year in Todd Haynes’ “I’m Not There,” in which she joins six actors who each portray a different aspect of Bob Dylan’s life and work.

“Cate Blanchett is the most consummate actor,” commented Durling, “and portraying Queen Elizabeth and Bob Dylan in the same year - and so indelibly - is pure alchemy.  We’re so eager to honor her in the upcoming festival.”

The Modern Master Award is the highest honor presented by SBIFF. Established in 1995, it was created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through his/her accomplishments in the motion picture industry.  Past Modern Masters recipients include Michael Douglas, Peter Jackson, Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sean Penn, Jeff Bridges, Diane Keaton, George Clooney, and Will Smith.  Blanchett’s outstanding contributions to the art of filmmaking have put her on par with these past Modern Masters and SBIFF is proud to name her its 2008 Modern Master.

Photo: Cate Blanchett, by Madelyn Ritrosky

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