Australian actress and anti-sexual harassment campaigner Cate Blanchett will head this year's Cannes film festival jury, becoming only the 12th woman in its 71-year history to do so, per the AP and Variety. In a statement Thursday, top Cannes officials Pierre Lescure and Thierry Fremaux expressed their delight in welcoming "such a rare and unique artist whose talent and convictions enrich both screen and stage." A two-time Academy award winner, Blanchett follows Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, who headed the 70th edition of the festival last year. The appointment of Blanchett, 48, comes months after she came out in support of the dozens of women who came forward with allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.
More recently, she joined the Time's Up initiative alongside other high-profile actresses. Cannes organizers did not mention the Weinstein scandal or Blanchett's commitment to the fight against sexual harassment. "I have been to Cannes in many guises over the years; as an actress, producer, in the marketplace, the gala-sphere, and in competition," Blanchett said. "But never solely for the sheer pleasure of watching the cornucopia of films this great festival harbors. I am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of presiding over this year's jury." This year's star-studded event on the French Riviera will take place from May 8-19. (2017 juror Jessica Chastain previously called out Cannes.)