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Top 10 Greatest Cate Blanchett Performances

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
She’s done it all, from big budget blockbusters to indie darlings. Now it’s time to decide which of her roles are the best! For this list, we’ll be looking at the best performances to date in the career of Academy Award winning actress Cate Blanchett. Our list includes Galadriel, Katharine Hepburn, Jude Quinn, Queen Elizabeth I, Carol Aird, and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Cate Blanchett Performances.

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Top 10 Cate Blanchett Performances

She’s done it all, from big budget blockbusters to indie darlings. Now it’s time to decide which of her roles are the best! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Cate Blanchett Performances.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the best performances to date in the career of Academy Award winning actress Cate Blanchett.

#10: Marissa Wiegler
“Hanna” (2011)

If Cate Blanchett were to play nothing but villains for the remainder of her career, we’d be okay with it. In “Hanna,” she plays Marissa Weigler, a CIA officer with one goal: to eliminate a teenage assassin trained by one of her former agents. Throughout the film, she is ruthless, cunning and at points admirable in her attempts to take out the titular protagonist. We like to think that this role paved the way for her turn as Hela in “Thor: Ragnorok.” While it’s rare to see someone of Blanchett’s caliber outshined by a child actor, we think it’s safe to say that Saoirse Ronan would have stolen the spotlight from pretty much anyone.

#9: Lucinda Leplastrier
“Oscar and Lucinda” (1997)

One of her earliest film roles also happens to be one of her best! Set in 19th century Australia, “Oscar and Lucinda” is the story of two young outcasts who fall in love through a shared passion of gambling. Starring opposite Ralph Fiennes, who at the time was only a year removed from receiving his second Oscar nomination, Blanchett more than holds her own. Her performance was well received by critics, who maintained that she was “bound to become a major star’” Wow, sounds like someone had a crystal ball at their disposal!

#8: Galadriel
“The Lord of the Rings” franchise (2001-03) & “The Hobbit” franchise (2012-14)

To this day, it remains somewhat of a mystery as to why an actor of Blanchett’s skill was regulated to what amounts to a background role in not one but two of the biggest film franchises in cinematic history. And yet, Galadriel remains one of the most easily recognizable characters from “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies. Much of this is due to the fact that Blanchett turns what is essentially a one-note character into a tour-de-force, dominating every scene she appears in. No small feat considering she shared screen time with Ian McKellen, Hugo Weaving and Christopher Lee.

#7: Meredith Logue
“The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999)

Featuring a cast that includes Matt Damon, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Talented Mr. Ripley” is a psychological thriller that has no shortage of gut wrenching twists and shocking turns. A supporting role that earned her a second BAFTA nomination in as many years, Cate Blanchett’s turn as the high society textile heiress Meredith Logue is but one of this film’s many highlights. While her character’s role in the narrative ultimately amounts to that of a pawn, used and abused by Damon’s scheming Mr. Ripley, Blanchett’s skills as an actress shine through, turning said pawn into a fully realized and robust persona.

#6: Sheba Hart
“Notes on a Scandal” (2007)

In a film that pits her against the incomparable Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett is every part her equal. “Notes on a Scandal” earned both actresses Academy Award nominations and as the film unspools, it’s easy to see why. Blanchett plays Sheba Hart, the new teacher at a London secondary school who is blackmailed by Dench’s Barbara when the latter discovers she’s been having an affair with a student. In a testament to her skills as an actress, Blanchett will have you in a constant battle against yourself, loving her character one moment only to detest her the next. It’s a raw, naked performance guaranteed to leave you in awe.

#5: Jude Quinn
“I’m Not There” (2007)

“I’m Not There” is a collage of eras and personas, each with the intent of recreating a facet of Bob Dylan’s storied career and unique image. Blanchett plays Jude Quinn, an embodiment of mid-50s & ‘60s era Dylan, a time when his musical style was under great scrutiny. Perhaps more so than anyone of the other Dylan-incarnations the film shows us, Quinn is instantly recognizable and dripping in idiosyncrasies made popular by the singer during his early years. Blanchett brings Quinn and Dylan to life in a way that is both humorous and immensely stirring. The performance ultimately earned her a fifth Oscar nomination.

#4: Queen Elizabeth I
“Elizabeth” (1998)

“Elizabeth” is the story of one of England’s most daunting historical figures, Queen Elizabeth I, whose reign was long and peppered with a plethora of conspiracies, wars and revolts. Tackling a role of this magnitude is no small feat for a young actor, and yet, Cate Blanchett did it with the grace and ease of a seasoned vet. The performance earned her a lot of firsts, her first Golden Globe, her first BAFTA and her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She’d reprise the role in 2007’s “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” to equally rave reviews.

#3: Carol Aird
“Carol” (2015)

Set during the 1950s, “Carol” is the story of two women who, despite being separated by age and class, fall madly in love. One of her most accomplished performances, Blanchett’s take on the glamorous socialite trudging through a messy divorce is, in a word, incredible. Her mastery of the screen is on full display from start to finish; dominating scene after scene and evoking the kind of emotional response one reserves for a real divorce, not a fictitious one. Both Blanchett and co-star Rooney Mara earned universal acclaim for their performances, with both being nominated for Oscars at the 88th Academy Awards.

#2: Katharine Hepburn
“The Aviator” (2004)

Martin Scorsese’s look at the life and times of infamous Hollywood director and aviation magnate Howard Hughes was littered with incredible performances from its stellar cast. And while many will point to DiCaprio’s turn as Hughes as the highlight of the film, Blanchett’s portrayal of famed Hollywood actress and Hughes’ one-time girlfriend Katharine Hepburn is by far the most complete. That fact was reaffirmed by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences when they presented her with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. With her machine gun mouth and devil-may-care attitude, Blanchett’s Hepburn is a revelation.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Thor: Ragnarok” (2017)

Daisy Fuller
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008)

Lady Tremaine
“Cinderella” (2015)

#1: Jeanette ‘Jasmine’ Francis
“Blue Jasmine” (2013)

If you’re looking for the perfect introduction to Blanchett’s on-screen skills, this is the film you need to see. After moving into her sister’s San Francisco apartment, Jasmine French attempts to get her life back on track despite being mentally unhinged and battling a substance abuse problem. “Blue Jasmine” marks the high point in Blanchett’s career, as she delivers a vulnerable and nuanced performance that will make you laugh one moment and cry the next. Director Woody Allen understood that Jasmine was a character to be reserved for an actor at the top of their game. From the moment Blanchett steps on screen, it’s clear he made the right choice.

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