Trapped in the dilemma of appearing ungrateful to the director who had put her in his movie or looking insensitive to his daughter who recently re-accused him of rape, Cate Blanchett ended up only glancingly thanking Woody Allen on Sunday. After paying tribute to each of the other actresses in the Best Actress category, she said, "I'm here accepting an award in an extraordinary screenplay by Woody Allen. Thank you so much, Woody, for casting me."
In an otherwise rousing speech — she got an enthusiastic response for saying that movies with women at the center are not "niche," and "audiences want to see them and, in fact, they earn money" — Allen's name was met with what sounded like hesitant and tepid applause.
Blanchett accepted the award for her portrayal of Jasmine in Blue Jasmine a month after Dylan Farrow's open letter to Allen, her father, was posted on the New York Times website. In the letter, she excoriated Allen for, she wrote, sexually assaulting her at age 7. (She is now 28.) In the column, Farrow directly addressed actors who have worked with Allen, and Blanchett was one of them: "What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett?"
Since then, Oscar pundits and celebrity-watchers have been wondering what Blanchett would do from this no-win position if she won — which, being the heavy favorite all along, seemed likely. She did not thank or mention Allen after winning at the BAFTA Awards on Feb. 16, instead dedicating the award to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, with whom she had been close friends. At the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, however, Blanchett did mention Allen among her thank-yous. Backstage, when asked about working with Allen, she told reporters, "Ninety-nine percent of the direction happens in the script."
The popular, gracious-seeming Blanchett has been in a vexed spot during this final month of the Academy Awards campaign. The night Farrow's piece was published, Blanchett was accepting an award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, a traditional stop on the road to the Oscars. She did not thank Allen during that acceptance speech, but did speak about the roles he's created for women during a Q&A there. After the ceremony, Awards columnist Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere directly asked Blanchett about what Farrow wrote, and she responded, "It's been a long and painful situation for the family, and I hope they find some resolution and peace."
That comment is the only time Blanchett has addressed the question. At the annual luncheon for Oscar nominees, reporters did not ask her about the firestorm. She was on the Feb. 16 edition of 60 Minutes, but the interview was recorded before the publication of Farrow's op-ed. Interestingly, she did not speak highly of Allen to 60 Minutes's Lesley Stahl. As an example of his direction, which is famously minimal, she recounted him saying, "It's awful; you're awful" to her on the first day of shooting. It was a point she reiterated when talking to Ryan Seacrest on the Oscars' red carpet Sunday.
"The cast was extraordinary," she said. "When you're in a Woody Allen film, you only get one or two shots at it, so it's great when the cast really gels in the way that we did."
Of the other actors Dylan Farrow called out in her letter — as she made the point of how painful it's been that Allen continues to thrive in the creative community — Scarlett Johansson, Louis CK, Emma Stone, and Diane Keaton have still not commented. Though his representative issued a no comment at the time, Alec Baldwin took to Twitter the day after Farrow's op-ed was published to speak out in response to the people who'd been asking him about it.
"What the f&@% is wrong w u that u think we all need to b commenting on this family's personal struggle?" was one example. He later deleted them all.