Mr Fremaux was asked if Cannes was also at risk of losing its appeal in Hollywood, given the dearth of American movies this year.
The film is one of 21 vying for the Palme d'Or at the first Cannes festival since sexual abuse and harassment allegations rocked the global movie industry and gave birth to the MeToo campaign to get greater female participation in films.
But his surprise decision to lift the festival's seven-year ban on Danish director Lars von Trier has stoked feminist ire. She told reporters that gender equality will play a part in this and all future Cannes festivals.
'Would I like to see more women in competition? It's a pattern stylists like Blanchett's own Elizabeth Stewart are hoping to change. "I hope so ... but we're dealing with what we have in front of us", Blanchett said. Three of the films in the competition are directed by women: Nadine Labaki, Eva Husson and Alice Rohrwacher.
Only one female filmmaker, Jane Campion, has won the prize.
'For profound changes to occur, it needs to take place through specific actions, ' she said during a morning news conference. There are several women in competition. But they're not there due to their gender. They are there because of the quality of their work. "We will assess them as filmmakers, as we should". Weinstein is alleged to have raped Italian filmmaker and actress Asia Argento at the 1997 Cannes festival. For 20 years, Weinstein was a major presence at Cannes.
This year, Cannes has established a hotline for sexual harassment victims at the festival.
Blanchett took exception to a questioner who wondered how discussions about female empowerment applies to a glittering celebration like Cannes, where female glamour is celebrated on the red carpet as well as the big screen. About 100 women are expected to attend.
Festival Director Thierry Fremaux has called selfie-taking "grotesque" and said they interrupt the elegance of the prestigious red carpet, lined by photographers. The jury of the event, which will be running through May 19, is chaired by famous British actress Kate Blanchett. But the press conference for the jurors-which includes Kristen Stewart, Ava DuVernay and Denis Villeneuve-sidestepped that hot button issue.
'A few years ago there were only two, and I know the selection committee has more women on board than in previous years, which will obviously change the lens through which the films are chosen, ' she said. "The whole world has changed". Weinstein has denied any nonconsensual sex.