VALENCIA, Feb 13 — Double Oscar winner Cate Blanchett on Saturday made a passionate defence of cinema in the face of competition from the serial format ahead of Saturday’s Goya Awards, Spain’s equivalent of the Oscars.

Speaking just hours before the star-studded gala in the Spanish city of Valencia, where she will receive the Spanish Film Academy’s first-ever International Goya Award, the Australian actress warned against the danger of falling into a single creative model. 

“We have to be very cautious... that we allow ourselves to think big, ambitious ideas, that we don’t start becoming slaves to the serialised form,” she told a news conference in the eastern port city. 

“Because that has a profound effect on the way we view story, on the way we view character and the way we view cinematic experience.”

The coronavirus pandemic, which took hold nearly two years ago, closing cinemas around much of the world and prompting months of lockdown, has triggered a surge in the streaming of films and television series, benefitting the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Disney+. 

Blanchett, who recently starred in Don’t Look Up Netflix’s star-studded dark satire about a comet threatening to wipe out life on Earth, acknowledged the “incredible opportunities” provided by streaming platforms. 

“But I think it would be negligent in extreme not to examine the consequences of us consuming so much via streaming and not going to the cinema in the last 18 months,” she said. 

“Certainly in the creative industries, I think monopolies are disastrous and dangerous.” 

Winner of two Oscars and three Golden Globes, among other awards, the 52-year-old actress will also soon be starring in Pedro Almodovar’s first English-language feature film called A Manual for Cleaning Women

It will be an adaptation of the book by American author Lucia Berlin and Blanchett will also be involved in the production, according to Variety magazine which first broke the story. 

Spain’s Oscar-winning Almodovar, 72, made his first film in English in 2020, a 30-minute piece called The Human Voice starring British actress Tilda Swinton, but this new film will be his first-full length venture in English. 

“I’ve known Pedro for 20 years and we’ve been talking about working together for a long time, and finally we’ve found this project... that we’re both passionate about,” Blanchett said on Saturday, saying the film would allow her to get closer to Spanish cinema which “has been hugely influential on me”. 

Later this month, the French Film Academy will present Blanchett with French cinema’s top honour, the Cesar Award for a lifetime of achievement. 

The 36th Goya Awards gala begins at 2100 GMT and will also be attended by fellow Hollywood stars and the golden couple of Spanish cinema, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, both of whom were recently nominated for an Oscar. — AFP