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Could Cate Blanchett snag another Oscar? Signs are good at Venice fest

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LIDO, Venice, Italy – The Venice Film Festival is famous for launching Hollywood’s lengthy awards season and Cate Blanchett’s towering turn in “Tár” has best actress Oscar all over it.

Writer-director Todd Field’s glamorous, nearly three-hour study is set among the highest tier of classical music performance as Blanchett’s Lydia Tár, a prodigiously talented, world famous, ground-breaking conductor, must confront social media, cancel culture and tabloid news coverage.

“It’s a very long journey in a short period of time,” Field (“In the Bedroom”) said at a press conference with Blanchett and other cast members before Thursday night’s red carpet world premiere. “We’re meeting her essentially for a three-week period of her life. It’s short but much happens. She’s a character who has self-realization based on a very compressed period of activity for herself.

“She has these external forces that are going on and a limited set of knowledge about what those external forces are and what they mean. And something happens — and her life changes.”

“She’s definitely haunted by something,” Blanchett said. “By her past. By herself. She is someone who definitely put their past in a box and through her great talent and has tried to reinvent herself and be saved and changed by the music.

“You’re sensing the dread (she carries) and I think its when she’s reached the pinnacle we see Lydia doing — she’s not at a peak but Mount Olympus pinnacle. As a human being the only way next is down and that takes an enormous amount of courage.”

Asked how she prepared for a role where she’s in virtually every scene, Blanchett said, “A hallmark of Todd’s films is they’re deeply human. You’re invited to be a fly on the wall in a searingly intimate way to people’s inner machinations.

“As for the character, I didn’t think of her in those terms because I knew from the first syllable of the screenplay that it was really complex. I didn’t know that what was so the spirit of making the film was a process that evolved and changed.

“What I kept to was that she was someone estranged from herself. I think in a way we probably all are. You don’t have to be a concert pianist or a conductor of the world’s greatest orchestra to experience that feelings. So she’s all those things, she’s a contradiction.”

As credible and thrilling as Blanchett is at the podium, “Tár” remains, she pointed out, “a fairy tale of sorts. Because there is still no woman leading the greatest orchestras. That landscape,” she added, “is changing.”

This image released by Focus Features shows Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár in "TÁR." (Focus Features via AP)
This image released by Focus Features shows Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár in “TÁR.” (Focus Features via AP)

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