As I mentioned on Tuesday when I posted photos of Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton arriving at the Venice Film Festival, it felt like reactivating a dormant muscle. After six months of no red carpets and arrival coverage, there’s some stiffness and pain, even disbelief, and also some cautious excitement too. Are we really doing this again? Are we ready? Ready or not, it’s happening.
But let’s get down to business first.
A couple of weeks ago, the Berlin Film Festival announced that going forward, acting prizes would be gender neutral – no more “best actor” or “best actress”, the festival will now award the Silver Bear for Best Leading Performance and the Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance.
“We believe that not separating the awards in the acting field according to gender comprises a signal for a more gender-sensitive awareness in the film industry,” commented the director duo of the Berlinale, Mariette Rissenbeek and Carlo Chatrian.”
Cate and Tilda were both asked about this in Venice yesterday and both support the move. For Tilda, she said this was “inevitable” and predicted it will soon be like this at all awards. Cate said that she’s always referred to herself as an “actor”, like how we refer to doctors as doctors and not doctors and doctresses.
“I have always referred to myself as an actor,” Blanchett said on Wednesday. “I am of the generation where the word actress was used almost always in a pejorative sense. So I claim the other space.”
Obviously I’m all in on this. But the conversation can’t stop there. Because it’s also about opportunity. As we’ve seen, up to just recently, the stories that have been told and the people who get to tell them favour men, and primarily white men. History shows that they’re the ones who get the most projects, the most roles. And if that were to continue, then they would still get the most nominations. In order for gender neutral acting awards to work, everyone has to be working – and a wide range of inclusive work must be supported and seen so that a wider range of performances can be represented. So film festivals can’t just stop at however they categorise awards. Before the awards even happen, the film festivals should be leading the way in which films and performances are selected and which filmmakers they’re encouraging in the community. As we’ve seen, film festivals up until very recently, including both Cannes and Venice, have been scrutinised and criticised for their myopia.
Now back to the fashion, Tilda went with white last night at the gala to receive her lifetime achievement award. It’s a gorgeous fit, this long jacket dress, and the hair is perfect, and she accessorised with a Venetian mask. Earlier in the day, Tilda was in a bright yellow suit for the photo call with Pedro Almodovar.
As for Cate, obsessed with the grey and black diagonal stripes she wore for the photo call, with a red striped belt. Cate kept the mask on for group shots and took it off for solos:
At the gala, it was sustainable. This beautiful Esteban Cortázar sequined caped gown is a re-wear from the premiere of Carol in 2015. Here’s a shot of her in it from back then:
It’s spectacular…and look at it from the back:
Cate will be photographed every day for the next ten days in Venice. Curious to see how many other re-wears are part of her festival wardrobe.