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Cate Blanchett to lead 2018 Cannes Film Festival jury as president
Zoe Poindexter
Australian actress Cate Blanchett will head the 2018 Cannes Film Festival jury as president, succeedingSpanish director Pedro Almodovar and becoming the 12th woman to take the role, festival organizers confirmed on Wednesday.

"We're very pleased to welcome a rare and unique artist with talent and conviction," Cannes president Pierre Lescure and delegate general Thierry Fremaux said in a joint statement to theGuardian. "Our conversations this autumn convince us she will be a committed president, and a passionate and generous spectator."

Blanchett is a two-time Oscar winner for her roles inBlue Jasmine and theAviator.This past year she was one of the 300 influential women who launched a campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace called the Times Up initiative. She was one of the first women to speak out against ex-film producer Harvey Weinstein after the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct made against him.

"I am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of presiding over this year's jury," Blanchett said in a statement, "This festival plays a pivotal role in bringing the world together to celebrate story; that strange and vital endeavour that all peoples share, understand and crave."

As jury president, Blanchett will preside over the competition for the 71st festival, which takes place May 8 to May 19. She will lead a panel, usually made up of actors and film-makers, who will choose the winner of the Palme d'Or - the influential Cannes award for best film. They will also select the festival's other main prizes.

"I have been to Cannes in many guises over the years; as an actress, producer, in the marketplace, the Gala-sphere and in Competition," she continued, "but never solely for the sheer pleasure of watching the cornucopia of films this great festival harbors."

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