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18 Performances That Prove Cate Blanchett Is The Most Versatile Actor Of Her Generation

Updated September 14, 2020 475 votes 68 voters 1.7k views18 items

List RulesVote up the best performances that prove Cate Blanchett's rare versatility.

Some famous actresses have a career driven by their unique looks, while others use their skill at performing to play believable supporting characters. Only a few are just as stunning to look at as they are capable of handling just about any part you throw at them.

And then there’s Cate Blanchett, who's just as convincing as a regal matriarch as she is as someone you might meet pushing a cart at the supermarket. From Elvish queen to crooked housewife to the Goddess of Death, here are the roles that prove just how incredibly versatile she is. Remember to vote up your favorite Blanchett roles.

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  • It’s normal nowadays for highly respected actors to take parts in superhero movies. Hey, if Marlon Brando did it, who are they to say no to a truckload of cash? Blanchett jumped onto the MCU thrill ride in Thor: Ragnarok, playing Hela, the God of Thunder's older sister and the Goddess of Death.

    She clearly had a blast being a villain, holding nothing back and unleashing every ounce of dastardly malevolence she could muster. To ready herself for Asgardian mayhem, she trained in capoeira, gleaned what she could from fellow LOTR veteran Andy Serkis's expertise in a mo-cap suit, and gleefully kicked butt as the first female supervillain in a Marvel movie.

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  • When your agent calls and asks if you want to be an elf, you probably hope it's not a Christmas gig at the local mall. And it's unlikely that you'd expect it to be as grand of an undertaking as Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Playing the pointy-eared Queen Galadriel, Blanchett is both luminous and terrifying as the grand Lady of Lothlórien. Her powerful performance was one of the most memorable in the film series, and gave her an entire new army of Hobbit- and dragon-loving fans.

    Blanchett loved being a part of the project so much that she even asked Jackson if she could be made up to look like a Dwarf and appear in a cameo. Sadly, this did not come to pass, but she does have the distinction of being one of the only actors to appear in every installment of both the LOTR and The Hobbit movies.

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  • The role that cemented Blanchett's reputation as "Australia’s Meryl Streep" was Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1998's Elizabeth. Instantly propelling its lead actress to international stardom, the film resulted in her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress and pretty much secured her choice of future movie scripts. It also was successful enough to merit a sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, which wasn’t quite as good.

    No matter, as audiences and Hollywood bigwigs were officially and fully aware of Blanchett’s radiance and wide range of skills in front of the camera. Lucky for us, director Shekhar Kapur chose to go with an unknown instead of listening to the studio's demand that he hire an established star.

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  • Along with Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Mulan and other beloved Disney films, Cinderella got the live-action treatment in 2015. In the lead roles were Lily James as the glass slipper-loving heroine and Cate Blanchett as the evil yet fashionable stepmother, Lady Tremaine.

    Unlike some of the other "reimaginings" of animated classics, this one was a hit with audiences and critics alike. Blanchett was the first member of the cast to sign on, and her abilities certainly helped director Kenneth Branagh's vision of focusing more on the psychological depth of the characters rather than an overabundance of CGI flash. And as for how she felt about playing such a dastardly and diabolical dowager? She described the experience as "fantastic."

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