Cate Blanchett has responded to Dylan Farrow’s allegation that Woody Allen molested her when she was seven, saying that she hopes the family can “find some sort of resolution and peace” in this “long and painful situation.”
The brief response to a question asked of Blanchett as she entered a party in Santa Barbara, came on a night when the actress won yet another award for her performance in Allen’s “Blue Jasmine.”
And it raised an uncomfortable question: Could the allegations from Farrow, her brother Ronan Farrow and her mother Mia Farrow, have the potential to derail Blanchett’s chances at adding an Oscar to the long list of awards she’s received for her performance as a desperate, pill-popping alcoholic in Allen’s film?
On Saturday night, Blanchett received the Outstanding Performer of the Year Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, just hours after the news of Farrow’s letter alleging the abuse had appeared in the New York Times. She received an enthusiastic standing ovation, and was not asked about the allegations in a lengthy Q&A. Instead, she spoke of how Allen had written “role after role after role for women.”
After the tribute though, Hollywood Elsewhere columnist Jeffrey Wells asked Blanchett to comment on her way into the after-party. “I mean, it’s obviously been a long and painful situation for the family, and I hope they find some sort of resolution and peace,” she said.
The allegations were clearly timed to hurt Allen during awards season, with Mia Farrow and Ronan Farrow both tweeting anti-Allen comments during the Golden Globes’ tribute to the writer-director.
(Mia Farrow, though, had given the Globes permission to use a clip from her performance in “The Purple Rose of Cairo” in the montage that was part of that tribute., according to Robert B. Weide, the director of the PBS special “Woody Allen: A Documentary,” who worked on the montage.)
And Dylan Farrow’s open letter, in which the 28-year-old wrote for the first time about the allegations first made 21 years ago during a custody battle between Allen and Mia Farrow, not only opened by saying that Allen “sexually assaulted” Farrow, but it called out Blanchett by name, along with stars of other Allen movies.
The mention of Blanchett by name attempts to make the actress complicit, and by extension those voters who cast ballots for her or for Allen or “Blue Jasmine,” as well.
But chances are slim that it can truly impact the Oscar chances for the film, which has three nominations: Best Actress for Blanchett, Best Supporting Actress for Sally Hawkins and Best Original Screenplay for Allen, his record-breaking 18th nomination in the category.
Hawkins’ nomination was something of a surprise, and she has no real shot at upsetting favorites Lupita Nyong’o from “12 Years a Slave” and Jennifer Lawrence from “American Hustle.”
As for Allen, he’s most likely running third in his category, behind David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer for “American Hustle” and Spike Jonze for “Her.” While the allegations probably reduce or even eliminate the chances that he could eke out a surprise victory, those chances were never particularly good to begin with.
Unlike “Midnight in Paris,” the 2011 Allen film that was nominated for Best Picture and for which Allen won his last Oscar, admiration for the darker, tougher “Blue Jasmine” is more limited.
That leaves Blanchett, who has already won best-actress awards at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Movie Awards, and has been honored by the vast majority of critics’ groups. On a ballot filled with uncertainties, she has been one of the surest bets.
For Blanchett to be hurt by the allegations, a large number of voters would have to decide that her fierce, showy and critically-acclaimed performance is secondary to the fact that she worked with Woody Allen – as have scores of other actors since Mia Farrow first made the allegations in 1992, and since Connecticut authorities investigated and decided not to pursue a case against Allen.
She may lose a few votes for not condemning Allen when asked to comment, and maybe Amy Adams (“American Hustle”) or Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”) have made it a closer race than we realize.
But it’s hard to imagine that guilt-by-association would seriously threaten the award for a well-liked past Oscar winner universally thought to be one of the best actresses of her generation. Blanchett was on a roll that was going to get her to the Dolby stage before Saturday and most likely can’t be stopped. Although a standing ovation at the Dolby would make Hollywood look callous and insensitive to some.
The real impact, I suspect, will come on future Allen projects, when working on an Allen movie – or even voting for someone who did – will take place in the shadow of this weekend’s allegations.
If the Oscar chances for “Blue Jasmine” aren’t significantly altered, the odds of the Academy embracing “Magic in the Moonlight,” his upcoming romantic comedy with Colin Firth, Emma Stone and Jacki Weaver, may have just gotten a little worse.