The headline of the USA Today article by Ann Oldenburg reads “Oscar Buzz Builds for Cate Blanchett.” Builds? Really?
First of all, it’s July. Yes, the Cannes Film Festival can sometimes spark the beginning of inexorable Academy Awards chatter, but by all civilized rights this cottage industry should be kept at a minimum until Telluride, Labor Day and Toronto. Secondly, Blanchett’s turn as a Ruth Madoff type in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine hasn’t even opened yet.
When Oldenburg raised the specter of an Oscar nomination during her New York hotel room chat with Blanchett, the actress replied with an apt analogy:
“Um,” she says. “The horse is hardly out of the gate. There’s always many great female performances. I just hope people go see the movie.”
In Oldenburg’s defense, the real culprits here are the critic posse led by Roger Friedman. He deemed Blanchett’s performance a “cinch” for the 2013 Best Actress category… two weeks ago.
And although it might not serve the Hollywood studio advertising needs of websites like Showbiz 411 quite as well, can critics please try to more often frame a great film performance with references to something other than the golden statuette? How about comparing Blanchett in the first few paragraphs to similar performances from the Hollywood pantheon (Bette Davis, Gloria Swanson…)? Look to the past rather than ahead to more turgid February red carpet melodrama.