Born and educated in Melbourne, Blanchett is the daughter of a Texas ad executive who died of a heart attack when she was 10.
Her mother battled to make ends meet, prompting Blanchett, then 14, to lie about her age so she could get a job in an old person’s home.
She graduated from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1992 after abandoning an art history degree and, in a little over a year, won both critical and popular acclaim with a string of successes for the Sydney Theatre Company (STC).
She was the first person to win the Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for best newcomer and lead actress in the same year for her role in David Mamet’s “Oleanna”, opposite “Shine” star Geoffrey Rush.
Her work in “Blue Jasmine” marked Blanchett’s fifth Oscar nomination and second win, after striking gold in 2005 playing Katharine Hepburn in “The Aviator,” Martin Scorsese’s biopic about Howard Hughes.
The Australian was the victim of one of the great upsets in Academy Awards history in 1999 when Gwyneth Paltrow won the Oscar for “Shakespeare in Love” after an aggressive campaign by US studio Miramax, beating Blanchett’s hotly-favoured performance in “Elizabeth”.
She took an extended break from film after being appointed joint artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company in 2009, performing in a number of its productions including “Hedda Gabler” and “A Streetcar Named Desire”, both of which toured internationally.
Until recently, Blanchett shared the STC directorship with her husband of 17 years, playwright Andrew Upton, with whom she has three sons. The pair announced that Upton would go solo in 2014 so that Blanchett could once again focus on her performing career.