Cate Blanchett Set for Lead ‘Carol’ Oscar Push, Rooney Mara Supporting

How will that affect Blanchett's 'Truth' chances?

Rooney Mara surprised the Croisette by winning (along with “Mon roi” star Emmanuelle Bercot) the Cannes Film Festival’s lead actress prize in May. Not only did she leap-frog favorites such as Marion Cotillard (“Macbeth”) and Zhao Tao (“Mountains May Depart”), but also her own “Carol” co-star Cate Blanchett. From there, and with an equally unexpected Telluride tribute fanning the flame, it looked like the Weinstein Company might opt for a co-lead Oscar campaign for the film, like “Thelma & Louise” and “Foxcatcher” (among other examples) before it. As it turns out, that won’t be the case.

I’m told Mara’s more reserved and passive (though no less refined) portrayal will indeed be campaigned in the supporting category, with Blanchett’s fiery and showier turn in lead. It’s an interesting turn of events given that Blanchett has another lead chip on the table, her performance as CBS news reporter Mary Mapes in James Vanderbilt’s “Rathergate” drama “Truth.” That film received solid reviews out of the Toronto Film Festival last weekend, many critics highlighting Blanchett’s work opposite Robert Redford.

That’s assuming “Carol” (or “Truth” for that matter) can make headway with the Academy. It’s left to be seen. And of course, voters will make up their own mind about category placement. They’ve gone their own way in the past, going lead with Kate Winslet’s “The Reader” performance, for example, after it had been campaigned for supporting. She eventually won the Oscar.

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