Cannes: Cate Blanchett Fetes the HFPA at Beachside Bash

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Cate Blanchett

The jury president swept through the party while festival head Thierry Fremaux was spotted taking selfies.

Cate Blanchett is having a whirlwind week. Not only has the Cannes jury president been attending several daily screenings, she also led a protest of 82 women on the steps of the Palais on Saturday, and swept into a party hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at Nikki Beach on Sunday night before rushing off to a dinner put on by fashion conglomerate Kering. 

Blanchett braved the night’s stormy skies to attend the HFPA's beachside bash, though she was rushing from one event to another and didn’t have time to talk. “I can’t, I’m sorry, don’t hate me,” she said.

Still, she took to the stage alongside John Travolta to present a grant to India’s Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation. “Change is possible and Kailash Satyarthi is leading the charge,” Blanchett said in short remarks.

Travolta was introduced by former HFPA president Lorenzo Soria, who said their friendship “goes back to the days of Saturday Night Live” — a slight slip that delighted the audience who hooted and hollered and shouted “I love you” to the Saturday Night Fever star.

“Believe it or not I’ve known you for most of my life,” said Travolta, who said he wanted to draw attention to the organization’s charity work.

Travolta and wife Kelly Preston brought along seven-year old son Ben, who stood on the back of a couch to see dad’s speech, alongside a visibly moved Preston. After Satyarthi showed a short film about his work rescuing child slaves in India, he asked the crowd to raise their hands to support his cause, and the mom and son reached up together in a sweet moment.

Preston and Travolta traveled to Cannes to present their Gotti film, directed by Kevin Connolly, who admitted to nerves ahead of Tuesday’s screening. “I’m not zen. I’m anything but zen,” he joked, noting that the movie’s journey to Cannes has been filled with roadblocks. “It would be weird not to be nervous.”

Festival head Thierry Fremaux shed a little light on Cannes so-called selfie ban, which bars the handheld snaps, which he has called "grotesque" in the past. “Selfies are allowed everywhere except the red carpet. It’s not the red carpet, so it’s OK here,” he demurred when caught posing for a pic.

Michael Shannon, who was “in and out” for a day to fete his Fahrenheit 451 film, was heading directly to Prague to continue work on Park Chan-wook’s The Little Drummer Girl.

While the HFPA’s party has become an annual event, it was the first time for president Meher Tatna.

“This is my first Cannes, so I’ve never done this before. My feet hurt and it’s a bit overwhelming,” she said while sitting near crashing waves, adding: “Cate finally fit us in to her schedule and I thought if somebody of her stature would be here, it would help shine a spotlight on the charity. It’s a really important cause for us.”