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See how the versatile actress disappears into her roles

1 of 12 David James/Lucasfilm Ltd./Paramount


Irina Spalko, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) Director Steven Spielberg has likened Blanchett's performance as a nefarious Russian agent to that of a dominatrix, owing to her severe haircut, military presence, and, er,  bullwhip.
2 of 12 Alex Bailey/Gramercy Pictures


Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) Director Shekhar Kapur saw some authority in the then-unknown Australian actress, who ruled over England with a long red mane and a basso profundo that intimidates.
3 of 12 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection


Connie Falzone, Pushing Tin (1999) Cate as an Italian Long Island housewife Yep. Her accent is impeccably coarse in this dramedy about a group of young marrieds (among them, Billy Bob Thornton, Angelina Jolie and John Cusack) whose lives intertwine.
4 of 12 Paramount Pictures/Miramax Films


Meredith Logue, The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) As an American heiress who might blow Tom Ripley's cover, Blanchett nailed the idle boredom of the rich with a sing-songy voice and a penchant for inappropriate flirting.
5 of 12 Miramax/Everett Collection


Petal, The Shipping News (2001) A bedraggled, brunette Blanchett plays a really bad wife and mother who leaves her faithful husband (Kevin Spacey) and sells her kids on the black market so she can run off with her new lover.
6 of 12 Warner Bros/Everett Collection


Galadriel, The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) Blanchett strapped on some prosthetic ears and a very long blond wig to play a literally glowing queen of the elves.
7 of 12 Columbia/Everett Collection


Magdalena Gilkeson, The Missing (2003) This prairie gal reunites with her deadbeat dad (Tommy Lee Jones) when her daughter is kidnapped by a power-mad medicine man.
8 of 12 United Artists/Everett Collection


Cate/Shelly, Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) Jim Jarmusch tapped Blanchett to play herself and a fictional, non-famous cousin in a stream-of-consciousness scene in which the pair meets for coffee and smokes in a hotel bar.
9 of 12 Miramax Films


Katharine Hepburn, The Aviator (2004) Cate's Oscar-winning Kate kept Hepburn's larger-than-life accent and persona intact without veering into parody.
10 of 12 Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros.


Lena Brandt, The Good German (2006) As a German-Jewish femme fatale whose intentions are unclear, Cate enlists an American war correspondent (George Clooney) in locating her missing husband, who might be a WWII-era war criminal.
11 of 12 Rogue Pictures/Universal


Jeanine, Hot Fuzz (2007) Don't remember Cate in Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead follow-up She played Jeanine, Nick Angel's CSI girlfriend who dumps him at the beginning of the film - without ever removing her hazmat suit and surgical mask.
12 of 12 The Weinstein Company


Jude Quinn, I'm Not There (2007) Director Todd Solondz's inspired, gender-bending casting gave us several Bob Dylans, including Cate's, a wiry, neurotic singer named Jude who wrestles with life's big questions as fame comes calling.