Why Cate Blanchett Doesn't Want to Be Called an Actress Anymore
"I think a good performance is a good performance no matter the sexual orientation of who is making them."
Cate Blanchett has won two Oscars in her career: one for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Blue Jasmine and another for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for The Aviator. But if it were up to her, she'd be competing in a gender-neutral category for the Best Performance overall. "Not as a political statement, but I have always referred to myself as an actor," Blanchett said at a press conference for the Venice Film Festival on Wednesday.
"I don't think we have a very gender-specific language and I am of the generation where the word actress was used almost always in a pejorative sense," Blanchett said, according to CNN. "So I think I claim the other space."
To prove her point, according to the AFP, Blanchett asked reporters if there is an equivalent of the Italian word "maestro" for women. They told her there wasn't one.
"I think a good performance is a good performance, no matter the sexual orientation of who is making them," Blanchett said.
Blanchett was discussing the use of the word actor versus actress in regards to the Berlin International Film Festival's recent decision to eliminate gendered prizes. Their awards for Best Actor and Best Actress will be condensed into Best Leading Performance—and the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards will become Best Supporting Performance, without any gender separation, Deadline reported at the end of August.
In regards to their decision, the directors of the Berlin International Film Festival, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian, said in a statement. "We believe that not separating the awards in the acting field according to gender comprises a signal for a more gender-sensitive awareness in the film industry."
"You know life is too short for this," Tilda Swinton added at the Venice Film Festival in support of the decision, according to The Guardian. "In every sense, you know, dividing people up and and prescribing a path for them, whether we're talking about gender, or whether we're talking about race or about class—it's just such a waste of life."
Now, actors like Blanchett and Swinton hope others in the film industry follow suit. "I think it's pretty much inevitable that everybody will follow," Swinton said. And for more stars who are deeply committed to their craft, check out 14 Actors Who Looked Unrecognizable in Major Movies.