Wow. Although this film depressed me a little bit, I left amazed by Blanchett's performance. In Blue Jasmine, she plays a New York socialite who, after her husband's imprisonment and suicide, seeks help and lodging from her estranged sister in San Francisco. The character of Jasmine is basically an awful human being. When wealthy she ignores and is embarrassed by her well-meaning, albeit unsophisticated sister, played by the delightful Sally Hawkins (who may challenge for a supporting nod herself). When at rock bottom, she expects her sister to upend her own life to accommodate her.
It's the typical high-society game where she cares far more about herself and how she appears to her shallow circle of jet-setting "friends" than she does about family or a meaningful relationship. What's so striking about Blanchett is how exquisitely she makes us believe that she's hovering on the edge of madness. In some parts its obvious, where she stares off into space or talks to herself, for example. At other times, it's far more subtle. Slight facial expressions, posture, the way she holds a martini. For crying out loud she got to play drunk, crazy and desperate all in one role. Sort of reminds me of Violet Weston.
This is going to be a VERY difficult performance to top at major awards ceremonies. The film itself is good and Blanchett has without question never been better. I consider her and maybe Jessica Chastain as the heirs apparent to Meryl's film legacy. Blanchett has won one Oscar, for Supporting Actress in 2004's The Aviator. Many feel she was robbed of a win for her nominations in Elizabeth and I'm Not There (myself included). She has a strong narrative to recognize her body of work with a lead win this year. Meryl's performance in August: Osage County will have to absolutely raved by critics when it opens Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival if we're going to see her challenge for the win. That's assuming Meryl is put in lead, which is probably still technically up in the air. As I've said before, Toronto will likely be very telling. After August is screened, Cate may have to start looking over her shoulder.