Even before anyone had seen Cate Blanchett’s starring turn in Todd Field’s TÁR, there was awards buzz around her performance. The role — which sees Blanchett playing the fictional Lydia Tár, widely considered one of the greatest living composers/conductors and the first-ever female chief conductor of a major German orchestra — was tipped, sight unseen, to be the one to win the actress her third Oscar.

The audience at the early evening gala jumped to their feet to cheer on Blanchett, giving the actress, and Field, a six-minute standing ovation following the screening.

There was a raucous response from the Venice audience with waves of cheers, shouts of “bravo!” and “brava” for Field and Blanchett. 

The Tár screening started 15 minutes late, in part due to the screaming crowds of autograph seekers and selfie-takers who took advantage of the first Venice festival since the start of the COVID pandemic to give ordinary fans access to the red carpet.

Blanchett and the cast entered to a massive whoop from the festival crowd when they spotted the actress. Another cheer rose up, with a few cries of “bravo” when the announcer formally introduced her.

Field’s first feature in 16 years, TÁR follows Blanchett’s character from the peak of her creative and career powers into a harrowing unraveling amid a cloud of #MeToo allegations. Nina Hoss, Noémie Merlant, Sophie Kauer, Julian Glover, Mark Strong, Allan Corduner and Sylvia Flote are among the film’s supporting cast.

Blanchett’s phenomenal preparation for the role, which saw the actress teach herself German, learn to play piano and conduct an orchestra, also has Oscar handicappers hyping up her chances for the 2023 race. Blanchett has six Academy Award nominations to date and has won twice: for Best Supporting Actress in 2005 for The Aviator and a Best Actress win for Blue Jasmine in 2014.

While Blanchett is the award’s focus at the moment, the strong critical and public response to TÁR indicates Focus Features could go deep into this upcoming Oscar season, with possible nominations in multiple categories, including of course for best score, composed by Oscar winner Hildur Guðnadóttir (Joker).

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