Santa Barbara Film Fest: Cate Blanchett to Receive Outstanding Performer of the Year Award

The actress is being honored for her role in "Blue Jasmine," which could also earn her a sixth Oscar nomination.
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Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett will receive the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, it was announced Tuesday.

Blanchett has earned the best reviews of her career -- and considerable best actress Oscar buzz -- for her work in this summer's breakout hit Blue Jasmine.

She will be honored on Feb. 1 at Santa Barbara's historic Arlington Theatre as part of the festival's 29th edition, which runs from Jan. 30 through Feb. 9.

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"In her first collaboration with master director Woody Allen, Blanchett knocks it out of the park in the best performance of her already illustrious career," SBIFF executive director Roger Durling said in a statement. "We're so grateful to be able to celebrate her achievement."

Blanchett, 44, is already a five-time Oscar nominee. She won the best supporting actress Oscar nine years ago for her portrayal of an earlier Oscar winner, Katharine Hepburn, in The Aviator (2004). She also received best actress noms for her performances as England's Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) and best supporting actress noms for her turns in Notes on a Scandal (2006), opposite Judi Dench, and I'm Not There (2007), in which she convincingly portrayed Bob Dylan.

One of the most admired and respected actors of her generation, Blanchett has also played challenging roles in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), aging from a very young woman into a very old one, and Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), in which she plays both herself and her fictional disgruntled cousin -- in conversation with one another.

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In the wake of Blanchett's performance in Blue Jasmine as a rich wife who loses her husband and her money, which she discussed with THR in July, she has already received a career tribute from the New York Film Festival. And she is currently most pundits' front-runner to win the best actress Oscar in March, which would make her only the 19th woman to have won more than one acting Oscar.

SBIFF first presented its Outstanding Performer of the Year award in 2004. Its previous recipients have been Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet, Heath Ledger, Helen Mirren, Angelina Jolie, Penelope Cruz, Colin Firth, James Franco, Viola Davis and Jennifer Lawrence -- all but one of whom went on to receive an Oscar nomination for the performance for which they were being honored by SBIFF, and five of whom won for it.

Twitter: @ScottFeinberg