Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett is to serve as president of the international jury at the 77th Venice International Film Festival (Sept 2-12).
The announcement comes five months earlier than last year, when Argentinian filmmaker Lucrecia Martel was appointed jury head.
Blanchett will lead a seven-strong jury and assign prizes to features selected in competition, including the coveted Golden Lion for best film – won last year by Todd Phillips’ Joker.
The Carol and Blue Jasmine star headed the Cannes competition jury in 2018, which awarded the Palme d’Or to Japanese film Shoplifters, directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda.
Such a short interval between heading the main jury of a AAA film festival is rare but not unprecedented. Gong Li, the Chinese star of Raise The Red Lantern and Memoirs Of A Geisha, lead the international jury at Berlin in 2000 and Venice in 2002.
The previous shortest interval between heading the Cannes and Venice juries, specifically, was French screenwriter Marchel Achard, who headed Cannes in 1958 and 1959 before leading the Venice jury in 1960.
Blanchett is a former Venice winner, having picked up best the best actress prize for her performance in Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There in 2007, in which she portrayed a Bob Dylan-inspired character named Jude Quinn.
Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth, in which Blanchett played the 16th century queen of England, also received its world premiere at Venice.
Commenting on her appointment, Blanchett said: “Every year I look expectantly to the selection at Venice and every year it is surprising and distinct. Venice is one of the most atmospheric film festivals in the world – a celebration of the provocative and inspirational medium that is cinema in all its forms.”
The Australian-born actress and producer began her acting career in the early 90s but came to international attention in 1998 with Elizabeth, for which she won a Bafta and secured her first Oscar nomination.
She won the Academy Award for best supporting actress in 2005 for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator, and was nominated in the same category for Notes On A Scandal in 2007 and I’m Not There in 2008 – the same year she was up for best actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
Her second Oscar win came in 2014 for her leading role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and received a further nod two years later for her performance in Todd Haynes’ Carol.
She will next be seen in FX drama series Mrs America and immigration drama Stateless for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Blanchett serves as executive producer on both through her production company Dirty Films, co-founded with her husband and playwright Andrew Upton, which has also produced features including Carol and Little Fish.
In film, Blanchett will next be seen in Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley and Aaron Sorkin’s Lucy And Desi, in which she will play US television pioneer Lucille Ball.