The only Hollywood star who won an Oscar to play a real life Oscar winner in Leonardo DiCaprio’s movie

The decades-long history of the Oscars is filled with numerous records.

And the acclaimed Hollywood star Cate Blanchett has also earned a place in the history of the prestigious awards with her remarkable performance in the 2004 crime drama The Aviator. Starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, she took on the role of Katharine Hepburn, a four-time Best Actress Oscar winner, who graced the silver screen for over six decades.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett in The Aviator

Based on Charles Higham’s 1993 Howard Hughes: The Secret Life, the film follows Howard Hughes, a pioneering aviator, and film producer, showcasing his rise to success, struggles with mental health, and passionate pursuits in aviation and filmmaking during the golden age of Hollywood.

Cate Blanchett’s Singular Achievement at the Oscars

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett, Martin Scorsese’s 2004 film The Aviator received critical acclaim and numerous accolades. It received 11 nominations at the 77th Academy Awards, including for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.

Cate Blanchett in The Aviator

While Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio were unable to score a win, Blanchett took the spotlight by winning her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of the iconic Hollywood star Katharine Hepburn. The late actress was claimed to be romantically involved with Howard Hughes.

Her win at the 77th Academy Awards marked the first and only instance when a Hollywood star won an Academy Award for portraying a real-life Oscar winner. Katharine Hepburn, who worked as an actress for over six decades, earned a total of 12 Academy Awards for Best Actress throughout her illustrious career.

Katharine Hepburn in Stage Door (1937)

She won four Best Actress Oscars for her performances in Morning Glory (1934), Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1968), The Lion in Winter (1969), and On Golden Pond (1982), making her the only person to have ever won four acting Oscars.

Cate Blanchett Was Determined to Capture Katharine Hepburn’s Distinctive Accent

The Australian actress Cate Blanchett dedicated herself to capturing Katharine Hepburn’s essence for The Aviator along with her distinctive Mid-Atlantic accent. As per The New York Times, the actress constantly practiced with her vocal coach to get the right tone and dialect.

Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator

It highlights how Hepburn’s “distinctive voice, loud, clipped and with a pronounced upper-class New England accent” became a crucial element to Blanchett’s performance in the film. Although the filmmaker Martin Scorsese was not keen on her working with her accent, she along with the voice coach Tim Monich insisted on getting it right for the film.

Blanchett also delved deep into Hepburn’s filmography, studying her mannerisms and movements to authentically embody the legendary star. The Blue Jasmine star has also expressed deep admiration for the late actress, saying, as per Golden Globes.

Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn in On Golden Pond (1981)

“I find her fearlessness very inspiring, because you have to risk failure, otherwise you don’t keep developing. She had enormous failures, but she kept going, she wasn’t a frightened woman, so I admire her desire to be true to her own tastes as an actor, and her tenacity. I find the breadth and the dimension of her career incredibly inspiring, so I hope I’m like her.”

And all her efforts really paid off, as the film and the character she portrayed not only earned Blanchett her first Oscar but also made her a historical figure in Hollywood and the Academy Awards.




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