Oscars Watch: Cate Blanchett in ‘Blue Jasmine’

Cate Blanchett’s Oscar-winning role in ‘Blue Jasmine’ was the grittiest and most econo-socially relevant of the season. There was the sweetest Dame Judi Dench in ‘Philomena’, the raspiest, most frightening Meryl Streep in ‘August: Osage County’,a sultry, mysterious, and brilliant yet cracked Amy Adams in ‘American Hustle’, and of course Sandra Bullock’s space heroine of the collective psyche in ‘Gravity’.

Blanchett’s performance, though…it rocked the foundation upon which viewers judge their guides- the protagonist symbol. Blanchett played a mentally unstable, self-medicated, aging beauty queen, and a liar, a cheat, disloyal: the cause of all ruin. This shocking, shaking, whispering poseur led thousands of movie-goers through a tale of a woman who makes very little sense and a lot of trouble.

Defenseless, and hopelessly defensive, bitter, and yet self-preserving, she mumbles to herself of her troubles, on level amidst a crowd of those whom she would’ve previously considered poor folks who weren’t worth her presence (she still does, but she needs them, just then). Struggling nobodys. Jasmine is viciously exposed, but we don’t see her fall. She is still spiraling when the credits roll; still lost when it hits us that we thought it was one of those for-granted kind of classist films that, at the end, absent-mindedly kicks up dust in the eyes of the average viewer for the sake of pleasing their vision of grandeur or criticizing the same vision. But no, this is different, and Cate Blanchett made the difference. She cried and bled. She made Jasmine as tangibly bitter and helpless as a screen actress could mold her leading lady. She did it in a way, with a heart, which exposed the raw beauty of getting another chance, and the self-defeat that follows characters who are unwell.

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