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Cate Blanchett to Lead Cannes Film Festival Jury
Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett attends the Opening Night Gala of the 14th annual Dubai International Film Festival held at the Madinat Jumeriah Complex on December 6, 2017 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Getty

Cate Blanchett will head the jury at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, succeeding Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and becoming the 12th woman to take the role.

“We’re very pleased to welcome a rare and unique artist with talent and conviction,” Cannes president Pierre Lescure and delegate general Thierry Fremaux said in a joint statement to The Guardian. “Our conversations this autumn convince us she will be a committed president, and a passionate and generous spectator.”

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The two-time Oscar-winning actress has been prominent in the Hollywood campaign to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. She was one of the 300 influential women to launch Time’s Up – a “unified call for change from women in entertainment for women everywhere” – last week with a full page ad in the New York Times urging companies, government agencies, and the US federal court system to re-examine harassment policies, backed by a $13m legal defence fund to help less privileged women in blue-collar industries.

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Shortly after allegations against Harvey Weinstein surfaced, she lent her public support to those who had spoken out. “Any male who’s in a position of authority or power, you know, whether he be a film producer or the president of the United States who thinks it’s his prerogative to sexually intimidate or abuse women that they come into contact with, whether in the workplace or otherwise, they need to be held to account,” Blanchett said.

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Where the Golden Globes nominations were met with disappointment at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s failure to nominate a woman in the Best Director category, the decision to appoint Blanchett as head of the Cannes jury will be seen as a politically charged move from the industry.

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