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Cate Blanchett heralds the power of art during tumultuous times at MoMA gala

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J. Countess/FilmMagic

For its eighth annual Film Benefit, the Museum of Modern Art honored actress Cate Blanchett with a spectacularly glamorous gala at the museum’s famed midtown Manhattan location.

The two-time Oscar winning actress, who stars in the critically acclaimed Carol (opening in limited release on Nov. 20), was joined by her friends and collaborators, including her Aviator director Martin Scorsese, her I’m Not There and Carol director Todd Haynes, her costar in Oscar and Lucinda, Ralph Fiennes, plus Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Rose Byrne, and many more.

“Holy guacamole!” Blanchett exclaimed after a superlative eight-minute clip reel of her performances (everything from Elizabeth to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) screened for the crowd, thanking MoMA for its generosity — and also for reminding her “how much I’ve aged.” (Though the clips revealed, if anything, how astonishingly ageless, at 46, the actress remains.)

In her remarks, Blanchett addressed world events as a means of grappling with the celebratory atmosphere while confronted with the tragedy of recent world events. “Really, all my efforts and endeavors do feel very insignificant given what’s going on in the world at the moment, the bewildering, horrific events in Europe and the Middle East, and the thousands of refugees who travel across the borders, and their plight and peril has become even more precarious and difficult.”

“But,” she continued, “and this is going to sound like a massive justification, perhaps it is in the face of what’s going on in the world, but sometimes you’re presented with the opportunity of working on projects that perhaps might last and perhaps have something interesting and important to say.”

She cited Carol, which she described as “a labor of love for everyone involved [which] has something very, very deep to add to our [appreciation of] romance.” And she also mentioned her film Truth, an investigation into CBS News’ mishandling of a story about President George W. Bush’s air national guard service, which opened in theaters last month. “Truth is about a very recent media incident,” she explained, “which remained not very well examined but has far reaching consequences for us as a race.”

Past MoMA Film Benefit honorees have included directors Pedro Almodovar, Kathryn Bigelow, Quentin Tarantino, and actress Tilda Swinton.

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