As Cate Blanchett transforms into a cut-throat gay composer in Tár, here are 6 reminders of why she’s a bona fide lesbian icon

Cate Blanchett as gay conductor Lydia Tár in Tood Field's drama film Tár

As Cate Blanchett wins plaudits for her stunning turn as a ruthless gay composer in Todd Field’s Tár, we look back at how the actress captured the hearts of LGBT+ people across the world.

Telling the fictional story of Lydia Tár, the first female chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, Tár is already generating Oscar buzz ahead of its release in UK cinemas on Friday (13 January) and has already seen Blanchett nominated for Best Actress in a Drama Motion Picture at the 2023 Golden Globes.

But to understand why Blanchett has been welcomed into the arms of queer women across the globe, we have to start with her Oscar-winning performance of a repressed lesbian woman.

Carol, released in 2015, garnered six Oscar nominations, including Best Actress nods for Blanchett and her on-screen lesbian lover Rooney Mara. Cate Blanchett, lesbian icon, was born around the same time. It is a title she has also earned campaigning for same-sex marriage, lip-syncing in the Stonewall Inn and being a general all-round delight.

In 2020 TV series Mrs America she took on the role of conservative campaigner Phyllis Schlafly, who fought against advances in women’s rights in the 1970s and was a later opponent of same-sex marriage – despite the fact that her own son was gay.

But that didn’t take away from Blanchett’s hard-won reputation as a lesbian icon. Here, we remember six times the star proved she was an ally and muse for the LGBT+ community.

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1. Cate Blanchett studied for her role in Carol by reading banned ‘girl-on-girl’ books.

Blanchett’s Oscar-nominated turn as Carol Aird is the main reason she is considered a lesbian icon. The actor is reluctant to talk too much about how she prepares for roles — she prefers to allow her films to do the talking — but in a 2015 Variety interview, she gave some details of how she prepared for her role in Carol.

When asked about her research for the film, which is set in 1950s New York, Blanchett said she read “a lot of girl-on-girl books from the period” to prepare herself — which is, of course, the best way to prepare for any lesbian role.

2. Her adorable friendship with queer actor Sarah Paulson is what dreams are made of.

Blanchett has starred alongside queer actor Sarah Paulson on a number of occasions, but their chemistry isn’t limited to the big screen.

The pair, who have appeared together in Carol and Ocean’s 8, had a viral moment when they appeared on The Today Show in 2018 and took the opportunity to have as much fun as possible. In the extraordinary clip, the interviewer was unable to get a word in as they gave each other a merciless roasting.

When Carol came up in conversation, Paulson jokingly made fun of Blanchett for failing to win an Oscar for her performance. “She tried. She wore dresses. It was a whole thing but she did not win.”

3. Cate Blanchett schooled Jimmy Kimmel on the realities of gay and lesbian sex like the true ally she is.

When the late night talk show host awkwardly tried to ask Blanchett about filming same-sex love scenes in Carol, it was immediately clear the question wasn’t going to go down well. He called it a “tricky subject” and Blanchett was quick to take him down a peg or two.

“Yes, Jimmy, girls have been having sex with girls and boys have been having sex with boys for a long, long time,” she replied.

Cate Blanchett Mrs America lesbian icon gay
Cate Blanchett (Ian Gavan/Getty)

4. She has been a firm advocate for same-sex marriage, melting lesbian hearts in the process.

Cate Blanchett has been a long time advocate for same-sex marriage, and has expressed confusion as to why anyone would oppose queer people getting married. In a 2015 interview with ABC Australia, she said same-sex marriage would have “no impact on anyone apart from the people it impacts upon”.

“So I find it quite bewildering that it’s so complicated for people.”

When Australia had its public vote on same-sex marriage, the actor recorded a video message for the “Vote Yes” campaign urging people to get out and vote.

“Love never hurt anyone,” she declared in the video.

5. Her general lesbian aesthetic has not gone unnoticed.

Blanchett is a straight woman, but the queer community often raves about her so-called “lesbian aesthetic”.

She has quite the following of lesbian fans, and many people were left with butterflies in their stomachs after she she did this photoshoot with Nicole Kidman.

6. That time she dressed in drag and performed a sickeningly good lip-sync in the Stonewall Inn.

Cate Blanchett is clearly aware of just how many queer people love a good lip-sync — and with that knowledge, she took to the stage of New York’s Stonewall Inn and left us all speechless.

In the impressive performance, Blanchett lip-synched to Dusty Springfield’s version of “You Don’t Own Me” and later performed “Hello” by Adele. After she finished her time on stage, she hung around afterwards for photos with drag queens.

As if it wasn’t already perfect enough, the performance helped raise money for a charity that aims to end gun violence.