Cate Blanchett’s BAFTAs speech was a touching tribute to ‘remarkable’ women nominees

Cate Blanchett on stage at the 2023 BAFTA Awards holding her BAFTA for Best Actress.

Cate Blanchett has won the coveted Best Actress award for her role in Tár at the 2023 BAFTA Film Awards, honouring her fellow women nominees in the process.

Blanchett took home the gong for her portrayal of Lydia Tár, a renowned lesbian conductor whose life slowly begins to unravel as her inappropriate relationship with a student gradually becomes more twisted.

The Australian actress, 53, was up against intense competition from the likes of The Woman King’s Viola Davis, Everything Everywhere All At Once star Michelle Yeoh, and Till’s Danielle Deadwyler.

Several critics had predicted that Blanchett would bag the prize, but she herself seemed a little taken aback, telling the star-studded audience that she didn’t have a speech planned.

“I didn’t prepare anything because it’s been such an extraordinary year for women,” she began. “As you’ve seen in those clips, all of my fellow nominees, the conversation with all of you off the screen and on the screen has been nothing short of remarkable and we know that we’re just the tip of the iceberg.”

While Blanchett’s dark performance in Tár received critical acclaim, it’s indisputable that this year in film has belonged to women, and any one person on the shortlist could have taken home the trophy.

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Cate Blanchett wears a black gown and white pearls on the BAFTA 2023 red carpet.
Cate Blanchett at the 2023 BAFTA Awards. (Getty/Mike Marsland)

“Every year, these idiosyncratic, remarkable performances just break down the myth that women’s experience is monolithic, so thank you to BAFTA for recognising all of us,” Blanchett continued. “We sit in dialogue with one another.”

Elsewhere in her acceptance speech, Blanchett got emotional as she thanked her family for their patience with her filming schedule, emphasising that it was both a significant professional and personal endeavour.

Surprisingly, the star also referred to Tár as a “very dangerous and career-ending, potentially, undertaking,” possibly referring to the controversies that have arisen since the film was released. 

Earlier this year, lesbian conductor Marin Alsop, who is name-checked within the first half an hour of Tár, blasted the film as “offensive” and “anti-woman”.

“So many superficial aspects of Tár seemed to align with my own personal life. But once I saw it I was no longer concerned, I was offended. I was offended as a woman, I was offended as a conductor, I was offended as a lesbian,” Alsop said in an interview with The Times.

While many fans have hailed Blanchett a “lesbian icon”, others have also questioned whether she’s right for the fictional role of Lydia Tár, considering Tár is queer and Blanchett is not.

Wading into the debate herself during an interview with Vanity Fair, Blanchett, who previously played a lesbian in the 2015 film Carol, said that she doesn’t “think about [her] gender or [her] sexuality” when selecting roles.

Following their BAFTA success, Blanchett and Tár are also expected to land a win or two at the Oscars next month.