Photographed by: A. Arthur Fisher

January 26, 2008: Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett honored with the Santa Barbara Film Festival's most prestigious award, "The Modern Master" award.

The unusually cold and rainy night in Santa Barbara didn't keep fans from gathering at the Arlington theater. First up on the red carpet was director, Todd Haynes, who later presented the award to Cate. Cate Blanchette on the red carpet He paused to answer questions from reporters and some fans who were lined up alongside the red carpet ready with cameras and pens in hand.

Cate appeared shortly after him and took her time to say hello and pause for the many photographers wanting the perfect shot of her. They were yelling to try to get her to look this way and that or to smile a certain way etc... as photographers often do to get their shot. Cate was very gracious and spent just the right amount of time to allow them to get their photos.

Cate literally sparkled as she smiled. Perhaps because she is well along on her pregnancy and had that "pregnant glow" about her. Or what this author thinks is perhaps it's just the way she is - a talented, beautiful, humorous, witty person.

Cate Blanchette Later, after the walk down the red carpet she joined Leonard Maltin on stage for two hours for a discussion about Cate's films and life. With a large screen up on stage everyone in the audience had a great close up look at Cate as she answered Mr. Maltin's questions with blunt, honest resposes. At one point she

Leonard Maltin has hosted this event for 13 years and he was well prepared with a list of questions which Cate answered graciously entertaining way. She has an honest "girl-next-door" bluntness to her answers which is incredibly refreshing in this day and age.

Her list of films during the past ten years is impressive and the audience saw clips from Paradise Road, her first film to her latest, I'm Not There, where she played Bob Dylan which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Did I mention she's also up for Best Actress for her portrayal of Elizabeth: The Golden Age? Yes, we saw clips from that film as well as many others.

Cate Blanchette and moderator, Lenard Maltin A funny moment during the interview came when Cate mentioned that when approached on the street most people can't quite figure out where the have seen her. They incorrectly come to the realization that she played in Titanic! (For those of you who didn't know that was Kate Winslet in Titanic).

Cate has recently been spending more time in her homeland of Australia with her family of husband Andrew Upton and her two boys who are 3 and 6 years old. By the shear amount of work she has done you wouldn't think she'd have much time to be with her family.

The night wrapped up with the award being presented to Cate by director Todd Haynes who directed her in I'm Not There. She was gracious and radiant and it was a pleasure for all in the audience to spend an evening with Cate Blanchett. What an amazing evening. We were certainly honored to have such an incredible human being, and actress in Santa Barbara.

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