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At 44, Oscar winner Cate Blanchett's career is about to blossom

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So how high is Cate Blanchett in the pantheon of great actors after her second Academy Award?

Her best actress win for Blue Jasmine, following her best supporting actress Oscar for The Aviator nine years ago, puts her in esteemed company as one of the world's most acclaimed actresses.

That will be no surprise to anyone who has admired her work in Australian and international films, not to mention on stage for the Sydney Theatre Company.

Two Oscars and three other nominations in 15 years reflects both a searing talent and a boldness in choosing challenging roles.

Blanchett has shone in everything from the period films of Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age to the fantasy of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a bold take on Bob Dylan in I'm Not There, the ambitious romance of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the popcorn fun of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and now the post-global financial crisis drama Blue Jasmine.


The legendary Katharine Hepburn, (whom Blanchett played in The Aviator) won four Oscars. Only a handful of actors, including Ingrid Bergman, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jack Nicholson and Walter Brennan, have won three.

Now Blanchett has matched some true acting greats with two Oscars. They include Marlon Brando, Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy.

And at 44, returning to the screen after co-directing the Sydney Theatre Company with husband Andrew Upton, she has decades ahead to be offered the most demanding roles from the world's finest directors.

Blanchett was right in her Oscars speech when she said Blue Jasmine showed that audiences would watch films with a female central character.

The huge box office success of Gravity, in which Sandra Bullock plays a stranded astronaut, proves it, too.

That trend is delivering quality roles to more mature actresses, as shown by four of the five best-actress nominees being over 40 this year. Amy Adams, the odd one out, is 39.

Best supporting actress nominee June Squibb is 84. Judi Dench, who was up for best actress for Philomena, received the first of her seven Oscar nominations in her 60s. And Meryl Streep is still getting meaty roles at 64.

There has never been a better time in the movies, it seems, to be a mature actress.

Already up there with Streep as one of the finest actresses of our time, Blanchett will be getting substantial, Oscar-worthy roles for decades to come.