Cate Blanchett on Quentin Tarantino’s shade: ‘That’s just his opinion. I guess.’


In August, Quentino Tarantino gave a rather epic interview to New York Magazine, which was some kind of preview of the fall and winter movies, including his film The Hateful Eight. It was a long-winded conversation about the industry, celebrities, the cycle of independent-versus-studio films and all of that. In the middle of one of QT’s monologues, he dropped in an insult towards Cate Blanchett. Here are his words in context:

The movies that used to be treated as independent movies, like the Sundance movies of the ’90s — those are the movies that are up for Oscars now. Stuff like The Kids Are All Right and The Fighter. They’re the mid-budget movies now, they just have bigger stars and bigger budgets. They’re good, but I don’t know if they have the staying power that some of the movies of the ’90s and the ’70s did. I don’t know if we’re going to be talking about The Town or The Kids Are All Right or An Education 20 or 30 years from now. Notes on a Scandal is another one. Philomena. Half of these Cate Blanchett movies — they’re all just like these arty things. I’m not saying they’re bad movies, but I don’t think most of them have a shelf life. But The Fighter or American Hustle — those will be watched in 30 years.

[From QT’s NY Magazine interview]

While Notes on a Scandal is not something that can be watched over and over again, it’s an incredible movie and both Cate and Judi Dench give brilliant performances in it. It really wasn’t the film to name-check, you know? Anyway, Cate sat down with Vulture/New York Magazine to promote her movies, and of course they asked her about Tarantino’s words. I love her more for her response. Some highlights from the piece:

Whether Cate reads criticism of her performances: “There’s a difference between being accountable to your audience and becoming obsessed with how you’re received, and with the latter, that way lies creative death. But being accountable to your audience is really important, and I think maybe that comes from years and years of doing theater: You can tell when you’re losing an audience, just as you can tell when they’re really with you and surfing the same wave — which is thrilling. It’s taken me a long time to accept that you’re never going to quite have that same visceral understanding of your audience in the cinema. Initially, I thought I’d be able to get that from critics, but you can’t.”

Whether people criticize her to her face: “Except if someone stops you in the supermarket! Sometimes people say, “Oh, I’m really sorry, I don’t want to bother you,” but I’m like, “No, I’m interested!” And they don’t always like my films. Sometimes they say, “I didn’t like blah blah blah,” and I’m like, “Okay, and … ?” But you’ve got to know, and you probably feel the same way, that there are around five people you should really listen to, and you want them to tell you the hard sh-t in addition to, “That was really good.” In the end, the praise is far more difficult to handle than the criticism. The criticism I know what to do with.”

On Tarantino’s criticism: “Well, he’s entitled to his opinion….It’s like horses for courses, not everyone’s gonna like what you do. Was it Louis Malle who said, “It takes as much effort to make a bad film as it does to make a good film”? That’s just his opinion. I guess.”

[From Vulture]

I like that she gave the impression that she was aware of what Tarantino had said and had already shrugged it off. It’s not like she’s going to beef with him about his words when ultimately, QT was just talking out of his ass. She knows that. Plus, anyone who dismisses Cate’s films while in the same breath praises David O. Russell deserves to be shrugged off. Different strokes, etc.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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86 Responses to “Cate Blanchett on Quentin Tarantino’s shade: ‘That’s just his opinion. I guess.’”

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  1. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I don’t care for her, but I thought she handled a very tactless criticism with grace and poise. I admire that.

    • Alana says:

      Definitely. Also he said something about staying power 70s and 90s movies. Well can we just agree that back then there were a lot less movies made . Now there is like 5 new movies per week so yeah that has something to do with it let alone that tastes now sometimes are dictated by teenagers which have amazing taste as we all know

    • Caz says:

      Very generally speaking, Australians don’t pander to celebrities in the same way a lot of US outlets & people do. We call a spade a spade. We consider comments such as Cate’s a normal/expected reaction and don’t suffer fools gladly “yeah right, whatever, mate”.

      • joan says:

        I object to “long-winded” — they asked him lots of questions and he answered them. He didn’t write them a letter full of opinions.

        He’s a transformational filmmaker and entitled to his view. Of course it’s on the other end of the spectrum from her.

      • coolkidsneverhavethetime says:

        I love Cate, and she handled it well but I see what Tarantino is saying. Put simply, controversy and creative expression then had a different meaning than they do today. The same reason a record on a record player is still a more culturally rich and intimate experience than skipping through a Pandora station on your phone. Those independent films delineated movie making history and broke ground in ways movies today simply can’t. It is an age of overproduction, mass consumption of all forms of media and bad scripts. It’s just not the same. Not that there aren’t good movies today but they are largely lost in the fray when ingenuity is so oversold.

  2. Lindy79 says:

    American Hustle was in my opinion one of the most overrated movies of the last 5 years. I really couldn’t wrap my head around all of the praise it got.

    • Evie says:

      Agreed re American Hustle and omg Notes on a Scandal!? Most incredible movie, so rich and strategic and wonderfully complex characters. I have watched it over and over again. Such incredible acting! Shuddup Quentin!

    • MrsBPitt says:

      American Hustle sucked! period, end of story!

    • Sixer says:

      I also thought American Hustle was a steaming pile of something unmentionable.

    • Naya says:

      American Hustle was no good BUT QT is right. The movies that remain in public consciousness are the ones that are emotionally accessible (no artsy fatsy stuff), not too intellectually challenging (mustnt leave audience feeling dumb) but have some critical approval (thereby confirming to viewer that he has excellent taste). By those standards, more David ORussell films will enter classic status than Cates.

      • Katie Oh says:

        I’d argue that Russell’s pre-Silver Linings films, from Three Kings to The Fighter, are all ‘intellectually challenging’ by any definition of the term – especially Huckabees and Spanking the Money.

      • Naya says:

        Meh. I Heart Huckabee’s is the only one on that list (havent seen Spanking Monkey) that could be considered challenging in its layers but then again, it most certainly has not been marked into the public conscious. Theres a bar on how smart a film that also wishes to be successful can be. David O’Russell and QT know where all the bars are so they can carefully skirt around them without allienating the mass audience.

      • Tulip says:

        So…he also thinks that movies that are marketed mostly towards men are the ones that are going to be watched years from now. Well, maybe, since it’s mostly men who hold sway in determining which films get made and which films get heavily praised. Or maybe the audience will have moved on. I think it’s funny that he ignores his own bias.

    • Nori says:

      Yeah it was so boring and pointless.

    • SusanneToo says:

      Once I saw AH, I could not understand all the Oscar noms. It was like “Really?? What am I missing?”

    • FLORC says:

      I think we burned out here. We saw too much coverage of AH and too much about the actors every step of the way in some form or another. All that played a role in our opinions and it wasn’t for the better.
      Most people that didn’t read into the gossip of the actors and were blank slates going into the film regarding bias liked it.

      QT’s point IMO is accurate enough if not applied correctly. These films are decent, but will they be remembered as great films we go back to to watch again 20 years later? It helps to have the plot of several storylines intersecting.

      Films i’d watch again … Clue, Pursuit of Happiness, Life of Pi, Spirited Away to name a few.
      While I enjoyed Philomena it’s not a film I’d enjoy again.

    • Chinoiserie says:

      Pellen have been so negative about Hustle that when I saw it I expected a very overrated film. But I did truly love it. It is not a super serious film, it has things to say about te roles we play and all but it just was a mostly entertaining dramedy and it is great those excist. Film does not not need to be a blockbuster to be etretaining and entertaining is not something that should not be taken seriously.

    • Val says:

      Agree, I haven’t liked a single DOR film. They are all overhyped and boring.

      @FLORC I think the overexposure definitely played a role. And I LOVE Pursuit of Happyness, I’ve already watched it plenty of times, haha.

    • stinky says:

      second that

  3. NewWester says:

    American Hustle may be watched in thirty years, but will it be considered a classic?

    • MND says:

      Most of what I had heard about American Hustle turned me off seeing it. I don’t see how it’s going to be an all time classic when it’s not even critically acclaimed now.

    • paola says:

      I watched it once and i hated it. I won’t try and watch in 30 years either.
      The only thing worth watching was Amy Adams. Jennifer Lawrence looked like she was playing grownup and i suffered a severe case of second hand embarassement.

      • Katie Oh says:

        Really? I thought Lawrence was the best thing about Hustle – and wasn’t her character supposed to be playing at being grown-up? For me, the central axis of the characters played by Bale and Adams just didn’t work, I never understood why they were supposed to be interesting.

      • CM says:

        I respectfully disagree! I thought Lawrence stole every scene she was in. Her and Christina Bale were brilliant (it’s the only film I’ve ever found him likeable!) but the film was waaaayy over-hyped for what it was: i.e. not very good.

      • Anon33 says:

        No, her character was supposed to ACTUALLY BE contemporary in age with the other characters. So your assessment of her “playing at being a grownup” is accurate, because she didn’t do a good job. It was almost comically bad.

        Every movie that DOR makes is just another wannabe Scorcese movie, anyway. Just because Christian Bale (who I love) is in it doesn’t make it good.

      • Katie Oh says:

        No, her character wasn’t supposed to be the same age as the others: there’s a line in the film that explicitly mentions the fact that she’s much younger than Christian Bale’s character, and the character interaction between them was written accordingly. In real life, Lawrence’s character was the same age as Bale, and Amy Adam’s character was much younger – but that was reversed by Russell. In other words, Lawrence played the character exactly as she was written – as an emotionally immature 22-year old.

      • Bae says:

        Lawrence was by far the weakest link in the cast, even Bradley was better than she was.

      • FLORC says:

        If we didn’t know of the cheeto farts and sink peeing. Of Renner’s baby momma drama. Or all the stuff about Cooper, etc… Would we feel the same? I think that plays a major role in our opinions. It certainly can’t be denied when looking clearly at it. It’s too big a factor in how we view these actors and that takes us out of the film. Knowing the behind the scenes stuff is a big factor too.

      • Kattie says:

        Lawrence was fabulous in Hustle. Best thing about the film, as reflected in the Oscar nom, BAFTA win and rave reviews she got for her performance.

    • lucy2 says:

      I really enjoyed it, but I don’t know if it will be considered a classic. It’s hard to judge that about anything contemporary, some things stick in pop culture and some don’t.

  4. Alicia says:

    Tarantino should never be shrugged off when he’s talking movies. The guy (along with Scorsese) has a PhD in cinema.

    • meme says:

      ^THIS. He and Scorsese are the only ones around who truly truly LOVE movies.

    • belle de jour says:

      Thank you. QT is NOT merely ‘talking out of his ass’ – that’s an easy dismissal of someone who studies and loves and makes and actually knows what he’s talking about.

      That said, I love her seeing his name drop, and raising him one Louis Malle. That was aimed under the poker table, right at his cineaste nuts.

    • Tara says:

      I shrug him off because while he likes some great classics like the Sergio Leone films, he also praises some really awful films sometimes. His taste is all over the place. Scorsese is better on the subject. And Tarantino and Scorsese are not the only filmmakers who love cinema. Give me a break. Tarantino just has the biggest mouth and Scorsese is our most respected. There are many others who love cinema just as much.

  5. MND says:

    If these two were pop singers they’d be having a Twitter feud over this.

  6. Jbap says:

    I sort of get what Tarantino means, even though Cate Blanchett is great. Even when David O Russell films don’t really hang together – as IMHO American Hustle didn’t – they are made with great visual flair and have tremendous energy. Notes from a Scandal is a much, much better film than Hustle, but the (few) good parts of Hustle remain vivid in my memory while all I can really recall about Notes is that is was a quality production.

    • carol says:

      I kind of agree. Some of the movies with the biggest staying power aren’t always the best films but like what you say, they have energy. Some of the best films ever made in my opinion have long been forgotten by the general public.

  7. Moxie Remon says:

    I don’t think he’s all wrong, to be honest. It can be a dull to watch her, because sometimes it feels like she’s playing the same character. Idk, it feels like she doesn’t change her approach from film to film.

  8. AmandaPanda says:

    I guess QT just likes Man Films With Action.

    Kids are Alright was an incredible film, but it’s very understated and focuses only on interior lives. Ditto Philomena (which was a mind-blowingly awesome film that I think will and should be around in 30 years). QT seems to need emotion manifested as violence (which makes sense when you see his films).

    • MrsBPitt says:

      Philomena was one of my favorite films of last year!!! If you haven’t seen it, please do!!! I loved it! As my Mother used to say, “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one”! For QT to think that American Hustle or The Fighter, will be classics in thirty years is HIS opinion, but I’d bet a million dollars (if I had that much) that he will be wrong!

  9. Pies says:

    Funny how the recent movies Tarantino chooses to praise have a very male-oriented perspective, not to mention that they both have male leads, as opposed to the ones he chose to “trash”. That exact perspective is the reason I don’t appreciate him as a filmmaker, I find him very limited.

    • Freebunny says:

      KIll Bill? Pam Grier? Even Pulp Fiction, Tarantino’s movies had great female characters.
      One can not like his style, but Tarantino is not some basic misogynist.

      • Pies says:

        I never called him basic nor a misogynist. I also never wrote that he doesn’t include women in his films – I only wrote about the movies he chose to praise. The man knows his craft, for sure, and his leading female characters are at a first glance what one would call “powerful”. Nevertheless I find them to be -and this is my opinion- extremely unrelatable, epidermic in character development and presented through -his- male gaze. This I cannot really elaborate on because it’s just an instinct, but when I see his movies I feel less empowered and borderline ornamental, as a woman.

      • MrsBPitt says:

        Obviously, QT likes grittier movies, and that is fine, but he shouldn’t dismiss movies with heart and emotion, just because they don’t seem to be his thing! I usually like QT’s movies, but I know A LOT of people who hate them!

    • Pies says:

      MrsBPitt, that is EXACTLY what I meant when I said that his perception is limited, thank you! I can enjoy some of his movies as well, they’re just far from my top list, that’s just a matter of taste.

    • Katie Oh says:

      David O Russell’s films are unusual in having strong female leads: Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings, Amy Adams in Hustle, Lawrence again in the forthcoming Joy. So it’s not accurate to say that Tarantino is favouring male-led films over female-led.

      • Pies says:

        Katie Oh, in my argument I didn’t mention O Russell’s general perspective either (btw I enjoy his movies immensely), I agree with you. However, American Hustle in particular is more male-oriented than his other movies – and that’s fine. I argued upon the reason Tarantino chooses these specific two movies, especially when he compares them to the other movies he mentions. Focusing only on his first quote, if I am to compare the movies he dislikes to the movies he likes, both sides have a respective common denominator; on the one side, you have what MrsBPitt above described as “movies with heart and emotion”, with female leads, and on the other side, you have two more event oriented movies, with male leads. It strikes me somehow.

      • Katie Oh says:

        @Pies, that’s a good point!

      • Josefa says:


        He didn’t say he didn’t like those movies. He said they weren’t memorable. He quite explicitly acknowledged them as good movies.

      • Pies says:

        Josefa, you’re absolutely right on this one.

  10. lower-case deb says:

    i was just reading Moretti’s paper the Slaughterhouse of Literature the other day, i guess the ‘back and forth’ (if it can be called that) between Blanchett and Tarantino can fit into that too. How do we look at trends, how do we define classic, etc.

    but one thing for sure, a lot of the things that see the light of day and which amongst those things get to be called a classic “owes” it to the very biased (if it can be called that–multiple biased) movie industry.

    i wonder if other film workers or members of the film industry from other (Western or non-Western) countries, or film workers of a different tier (not A listers), etc, would agree or disagree with Blanchett’s or Tarantino’s definition of classic

  11. LAK says:

    it’s interesting that he says only Sundance films are/should be classics. The recent films he name checks as being too artsy and or non classic didn’t go via Sundance therefore in his mind they don’t count?

    it’s actually disappointing when such an absurd opinion comes from someone like Tarantino who is a huge cinephile.

    It’s also funny that the very thing he is complaining about with regards to the films he name checks is also applicable to the 70s/90s era.

    • Alicia says:

      “it’s interesting that he says only Sundance films are/should be classics.”

      He didn’t even come close to saying that.

      • Josefa says:


        People are so hell-bent on complaining about things online they twist around words to illogical depths. “Indie Oscar-baity films are good, but I don’t think they are memorable”. That’s what he said, in a very polite and inoffensive way. God forbid a movie director talk about movies that are not his own.

      • LAK says:

        Alice/josefa: several things

        1. Direct quote from above ‘movies that were considered independent films, like the sundance films of the 90s are the ones considered for Oscars now’……’they are the Middle range now’……’wouldn’t be considered as good……..dont have staying power like those films of the 90s/70s’

        What do you think the above quote means? Isn’t he disparaging the current Oscar baity films even though he says they are the same as the 90s/70s films he is revering? Isn’t he saying that they are all the same except that the current lot are made with bigger budgets and bigger stars, and expressing doubt as to whether they are any good based on the bigger stars/budgets?

        2. Sundance was synonymous with indies and artsy in the 90s. American Cinema in the 70s was artsy and independent and had such a profound effect of Robert Redford that he created Sundance to keep it alive and to help those filmmakers engaged in that end of the market.

        3. These days, middle range films are not showcased at Sundance. Middle range is $20-$30M-ish. So if he is praising the sundance ethos, and the indie ethos of sundance and saying those films are thus rendered interesting, isn’t he then saying that the latter films, are rendered uninteresting because they didn’t go to Sundance and or didn’t use ‘indie’ criteria despite being essentially the same types of films?

        From the first statement he makes, he makes it very clear that If a film, that for all intents and purposes is an indie, is artsy, but falls in the middle range, he doesn’t consider it’s merits or it’s staying power.

        You can of course disagree, but clearly long form explanations of how I interpreted what he said is required since you took my comment at face value without understanding the context of it even though it’s all in the paragraphs above in QT’s own words.

  12. paola says:

    It seems like nothing can really bother her, including Woody Allen’s love for underage kids.
    I used to like her, now she just has eyes for the prize and all the rest is so beneath her to catch her attention.

  13. Killalustre says:

    “God, grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man”

  14. Ann says:

    I loathe Tarantino’s movies. They’re silly with their cartoonish violence and are too pop culture referential, and moreover, too self conscious. Did I mention that I don’t like his movies? Maybe none of his movies will be remembered!

    • Josefa says:

      Pulp Fiction is very much remembered 2 decades after it’s release.

    • meme says:

      Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs are classics to people who love film. QT is a very accomplished director and his movies are, at their very worst, more interesting to watch than yet another Marvel comic book movie.

  15. Veronica C says:

    I’m sorry, but after her Woody Allen apologies AND naming a child after Roman Polanski, I’ve lost ALL interest in her opinions. IMO to claim that being asked about a gown is somehow demeaning but to work with and admire pedophiles is justifiable because “art” renders everything she says and does void. If Miley Cyrus has her feminism card questioned because of Uncle Terry, shouldn’t CB face the same scrutiny?
    Just my two cents.

    • JWQ says:

      Did she actually say out loud that she named her child after Polanski, or it’ s just a coincidence and she simply liked the name?

      Anyway, I agree with everything you wrote!

    • Tara says:

      Eww.. I hope she didn’t name her child after that animal. What did she say about Woody other than how it was nice to work with him? Did she defend him in that case and claim he was innocent? Best not to speak on what she does not know.

  16. lucy2 says:

    Film is such a broad and widely experienced art form, no one is ever going to agree on everything. If QT wants to say those types of films don’t interest him that’s fine, but others really like them, so I don’t think he gets to decide what is a “classic” or not for the entire movie going population.
    I think her response was perfect. He’s entitled to his opinion, and she’s entitled to not care what he thinks.

  17. Cinderella says:

    He could have made his point without calling out Cate. Leave Cate alone!

  18. Josefa says:

    Oh come on. What Quentin said was FAR from an insult. He even said those movies were not bad, but rather forgettable. A perfectly valid and respectful opinion. You people are so ridiculously sensitive, a guy can’t even give a respectful negative opinion without it being read as a “shade” or a “slam”.

    Good for Cate for not taking it seriously – as she shouldn’t have.

    • Carol says:

      The movies he grew up idolizing and trying to recreate are far different from the movies Cate makes. It’s not surprising to me that he doesn’t like them and doesn’t think they have staying power. I have never watched one of his movies because I don’t like the violence and so I don’t think of his movies as classics, although I have been told that they are well made.

      When someone in this house makes a comment like he did, the correct response here is “That’s why they make both chocolate and vanilla ice cream.” I feel like her response is just a variation of that.

      • Josefa says:

        Yeah and I agree. But I don’t see why disliking vanilla ice cream should stop me from talking about it (that’s a very good saying btw). If Quentin had said something truly insulting about Cate and her movies, another bird would be singing. But he was perfectly polite, so it bothers me to see his words being read as an insult just because they are more critical.

  19. Harryg says:

    American Hustle was overhyped fluff.

  20. HoustonGrl says:

    Regardless, Tarantino is f*cking brilliant. He’s clearly an eccentric and I bet he’s difficult to work with. I was bored to tears during American Hustle so I can’t agree with any of that. As far as Cate Blanchett, anything she touches turns to gold, IMO, and I will always see her movies. I’ve never seen one where I didn’t immensely enjoy her performance.

  21. MrsBPitt says:

    While I have enjoyed most of QT’s movies…the guy, himself, creeps me out! I don’t know what it is, maybe the foot fetish thing, or just his looks, or even the way he talks, he just gives me the perv vibe!

  22. petan says:

    But, American Hustle sucked.

  23. Dr. Funkenstein says:

    That’s how a lady responds to a boorish idiot. I could care less what he thinks about film, and I doubt I’m alone.

  24. Tara says:

    Quentin Tarantino’s taste is questionable sometimes though. I’ve seen his best of the year lists. American Hustle sucked and does not deserve to be remembered in decades. Cate Blanchett didn’t deserve to be singled out, but as Kaiser said, he was talking out of his ass. Look how inconsistent he was with the Fighter in his statement.

  25. Bethie says:

    I can’t stand him or his films.