'Stop the televised horserace of it all': Cate Blanchett calls out 'patriarchal pyramid' of award shows after big win

After winning a Critics Choice Award for Tár, the actor spoke about how "arbitrary" it is to be named Best Actress

Cate Blanchett poses in the press room with the award for best actress for
Cate Blanchett poses in the press room with the award for best actress for "Tar" at the 28th annual Critics Choice Awards at The Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Cate Blanchett may have been crowned one of the best actors of year after winning a Critics Choice Award for playing Lydia Tár in the film Tár, but that didn't stop her from calling for an end to the "television horserace" of awards season.

Blanchett is largely regarded as one of the greatest actors of all time, having won notable awards for her work in films like Elizabeth, The Aviator, Blue Jasmine, I'm Not There, and now Tár. During Sunday night's ceremony, Blanchett spoke about what it means to be receiving the award for Best Actress.

"I mean, it is arbitrary considering how many extraordinary performances there have been by women, not only in this room," she said. "Andrea Riseborough, Tang Wei, Penélope Cruz, the list goes on and on and on."

As Blanchett started to recognize her fellow nominees, she pivoted to make a statement about these types of awards ceremonies more broadly.

It's this patriarchal pyramid where someone stands up here. Why don't we just say there is a whole raft of female performances that are in concert and in dialogue with one another. And stop the televised horserace of it all.Actress Cate Blanchett

"Can I tell you, every single woman, whether television, film, advertising, tampon commercials, whatever, you're all out there doing amazing work that is inspiring me continually. So thank you, I share this with you all."

Blanchett's comments come as there has been extensive dialogue about the relevance and lasting power of televised awards shows, largely sparked by the significant controversy around the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and the Golden Globes.

From a viewer perspective the Globes, which occurred just a week ago, was watched by 6.3 million people, significantly less than the more than 18 million who watched in 2020. Conversely, the Oscars audience grew by about 60 per cent last year, after a record low in 2021 of 10.4 million viewers. But we're still waiting to see if that increase can be sustained in 2023.

Of course, there are also questions around whether these smaller groups of industry professionals deeming something or someone in a TV show or film the best even matters, especially if there are issues with these groups not being representative of the world we live in.

That also has to be balanced with the fact that people have waited their entire lives to receive this kind of recognition for their work.

Following Sunday's ceremony, some people took to social media to comment on Blanchett's statements.