Cate Blanchett has been named head of the Cannes film festival jury.The 71st annual Cannes Film Festival is scheduled to be held from 8 to 19 May 2018.

Cate Blanchett, a two-time Oscar-winning actor who is prominent in a Hollywood campaign to tackle sexual harassment in the workplace, will head the jury at this year’s Cannes film festival, organiserssaid .

Blanchett was one of 300 influential women in Hollywood who launched the Time’s Up initiative this week, in response to a string of sexual assault accusations against prominent men in the film industry. The Australian actor will become the 12th woman to lead the prestigious panel at Cannes, which kicks off on 8 May.

“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.

Our conversations this autumn convince us she will be a committed president, and a passionate and generous spectator.”

The choice of Blanchett, who was named best actress at the 2014 Academy Awards for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, will be seen as politically charged after a year in which the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein sparked a deluge of allegations against powerful men in entertainment, politics and the media.

Shortly after the Harvey Weinstein story broke in October, she lent her public support to his accusers; he now faces claims of a string of sexual assaults and rapes from more than one hundred accusers. Weinstein has denied some of the accusations.

“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.

More than 300 women, including Blanchett, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lawrence, announced the Time’s Up initiative, which aims to tackle the pervasive culture of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and other workplaces.

Launched with a full-page ad in the New York Times, the initiative urges companies, government agencies and the US federal court system to re-examine harassment policies, and includes a $13m legal defence fund to help less privileged women in blue-collar industries.

Blanchett won the Oscar for best supporting actress in 2005 for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator and won Venice’s best actress award in 2007 for her depiction of Bob Dylan in the biopic I’m Not There.

She succeeds Spanish director Pedro Almodovar as jury head at Cannes, which last year awarded its prestigious Palme d’Or to the Swedish tragicomedy The Square.

The 71st annual Cannes Film Festival is scheduled to be held from 8 to 19 May 2018. 

Source – The Guardian

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