Cate Blanchett takes limelight at Australia summit

Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:31pm EDT
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By Rob Taylor

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Hollywood star wattage outweighed intellectual light at the opening of an Australian thinkers summit on Saturday, with cameras firmly focused on Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett and her newborn son.

Fellow actor and X-Men film franchise star Hugh Jackman also stole the limelight from the other 998 of the nation's best minds, promising to lobby for more Australian actors to come home as his "big idea" for the future planning summit.

"It's a beginning, I believe really strongly, of a long and meaningful relationship between artists and the government, not as an adjunct to, but as a fundamental aspect of, society," a beaming Blanchett said when collared by media.

Blanchett, who most recently appeared in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and "I'm Not There," won the best supporting actress Oscar in 2005 for her role as screen goddess Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator," about eccentric U.S. billionaire Howard Hughes.

Blanchett happily posed for photos after entering the so-called 2020 Summit of Australia's brightest minds in the Great Hall of parliament in Canberra on Saturday, just six days after giving birth to her third son, Ignatius Martin Upton.

Blanchett, one of two females among the 10 summit chairs, sat in the front row next to her playwright husband Andrew Upton, who was left holding the baby, who promptly fell asleep after having a wrap removed by his mother.

Jackman said Blanchett was a "superwoman" and described her as "flawless as a person" before heading into a creative brainstorming session to be led by Blanchett.

He said he would push fellow brainstormers to come up with a way of encouraging a more creative focus for all Australians.

"(By 2020 we should have) a really vibrant artistic community that is leading the world, something that is one of the main focuses of Australians, internationally, that we're really proud of," he told Australian radio.

(Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

<p>Actress Cate Blanchett attends the opening ceremony of the "Australia 2020 Summit" in Canberra April 19, 2008. The two-day summit at parliament aims to throw up at least 10 big ideas to improve Australia's future by 2020, including governance, lifting creativity and how best to narrow a 17-year life expectancy gap between black and white Australians. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz</p>