Cate Blanchett honored at Museum of Modern Art

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Posted: Nov 18, 2015 12:39 AM
Cate Blanchett honored at Museum of Modern Art

NEW YORK (AP) — Cate Blanchett, accepting an honor for her film work, made reference to the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut and said her own efforts "feel very insignificant" in view of what's happening in the world.

Blanchett was honored Tuesday evening at the Museum of Modern Art's eighth annual film benefit, which raises funds so that important cinematic works can join the museum's collection.

"All my efforts do feel very insignificant in view of what's going on in the world at the moment, the horrific events in Europe and the Middle East," Blanchett said, "and the thousands of refugees who travel across the borders, and their plight, their peril has become even more precarious and difficult."

"But," she added, "and this is going to sound like a massive justification — perhaps it is in the face of what's going on in the world — sometimes you're presented with the opportunity of working on projects that perhaps might last and perhaps have something interesting and important to say, and last year was definitely one of those years for me."

She was referring to the two current movies that both are generating serious awards buzz for the two-time Oscar winner. One is "Truth," in which Blanchett plays the real-life role of CBS producer Mary Mapes, whose career ended following her report about George W. Bush's National Guard service. In an earlier red carpet interview, Blanchett said she was "so fascinated to play the role of a real-life person in free fall in a very unexplored part of recent media history which I think it's quite timely to think about, how we process and digest our news."

Blanchett's latest film is "Carol," adapted from the Patricia Highsmith novel, in which she plays a woman involved in a 1950s lesbian romance. "This movie was a labor of love for everyone involved," she said.

Among those speaking at the tribute was Blanchett's co-star in the 1997 movie "Oscar and Lucinda," Ralph Fiennes, who spoke about her "eccentric and beautiful inner landscape."

"You're a great artist, Cate," he said, "Thank you for sharing your gift with us."

Also speaking — in a videotaped message — was Woody Allen, who directed Blanchett's Oscar-winning performance in "Blue Jasmine." The famously reclusive Allen, who often shuns awards ceremonies, quipped that "mercifully, I had a prior engagement." He noted that before he directed Blanchett, "everyone told me, 'Hire Cate Blanchett, and she'll make you look like a genius.'"

In the red carpet interview, Blanchett said the Museum of Modern Art had been influential on her "as a tourist, as someone lost in the city, as someone searching for a bit of inspiration."

Director Haynes, also on the red carpet, described Blanchett — who's earned six Oscar nominations — as an actress who "considers the entire medium, the entire language and style of each film she is in. And she is able to adjust the performance to what that requires."

Others attending the evening's event included director Martin Scorsese, and actresses Rooney Mara, Rose Byrne, Sarah Paulson, Jane Krakowski and Diane Kruger.

The previous honorees have been Baz Luhrmann (2008), Tim Burton (2009), Kathryn Bigelow (2010), Pedro Almodovar (2011), Quentin Tarantino (2012), Tilda Swinton (2013), and Alfonso Cuaron (2014).