Blanchett may hate the awards, but they make her influential

Let’s face it, showbiz awards like the Globes and Oscars are glamorized beauty pageants for handsome millionaires to strut about. They’re an amusing, colorful distraction in an overly monochromatic reality.

But they should not be entirely dismissed as mere trifles. The Globes, Oscars and others make up a much larger part of the collective public global consciousness than the much loftier annual Nobel Peace Prize gong show in Oslo.

The Oscars occupy a much larger part of the global consciousness than the Nobel Prize.

The Oscars occupy a much larger part of the global consciousness than the Nobel Prize.Credit:AP

Blanchett has received two Academy Awards, three BAFTAs, four Golden Globes, four Screen Actors Guild Awards, four AACTAs, two Cesar’s, three Critics’ Choice, and four Helpmann Awards, among many, many others.

We are talking about a highly influential, highly competitive, highly political aspect of a multi-billion dollar ($42.3 billion pre-pandemic) global industry that affects billions of people every year.

When a movie becomes a hit, that notoriety makes people like Blanchett the most influential people alive. It not only leads to multi-million dollar deals selling expensive face creams and perfumes like Blanchett does; it paves the way for addressing governments and powerful organizations like the United Nations on serious issues, as Blanchett did.

These awards are small but crucial cogs in a much larger, much more complicated cultural machinery.

The selection of the year’s best performances, determined each year by a panel of experts, gives us a contemporary cultural benchmark that encapsulates and crystallizes the social issues and values ​​that define a given period.

Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel in the 1939 film adaptation of Gone With the Wind.

Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel in the 1939 film adaptation of Gone With the Wind.

Like Hattie McDaniel in 1940. She was the first black actress to accept an Oscar — judged by white men at the time — for best supporting actress for her role Blown by the wind. However, producer David O. Selznick had to call in a special favor to allow McDaniel into the Ambassador Hotel without Blacks to collect her trophy for playing a slave.

If it were just a matter of honoring “a class of” actors each year, as Blanchett has suggested, rather than naming a single winner, Hattie’s story would disappear behind her performance. Her moment to shine would be lost against all odds.

In 2023, A-list actors like Blanchett will be elevated to modern day deity status. Winning a glittering Oscar guarantees that the strongest, most flattering spotlight of all will be firmly on her, and her alone.

Even before collecting that shiny little trophy, there are the endless rounds of pre-awarding campaigns, all the back pats, hugs and air kisses among the most beautiful, funniest and fabulous people in the world.

In truth, it all looks a little tiring when you look inside from the outside. But these are professional actors, after all.

And in return, we – the audience – catch a glimpse of something seemingly ethereal, a glittering, fantastical illusory world that makes us mere mortals dream.

There is a scene in the new Babylon Film depicting the wild years of old Hollywood a century ago that is just as true today about the idiosyncratic nature of Hollywood fame.

Jean Smart plays Elinor St. John in Babylon.

Jean Smart plays Elinor St. John in Babylon.

One of the main characters, aging matinee idol Jack Conrad (played by Brad Pitt), meets a gossip columnist named Elinor St. John (played by Jean Smart) to ask why she wrote an unflattering article about him. She remains steadfast, declaring his time is “over”.


“I know it hurts. Nobody wants to be left behind,” she tells him. “But a hundred years from now, when you and I are long gone, every time someone threads a frame of yours through a sprocket, you’ll be alive again… A kid born in 50 years will stumbling across your flickering image on a screen and feeling like he knows you like a friend even though you breathed your last before he breathed his first. You have received a gift. Be thankful. You will spend eternity with angels and spirits.”

Undoubtedly, Blanchett and all of her trophies have earned a place in eternity as well. Blanchett may hate the awards, but they make her influential

Jaclyn Diaz

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