It is no big secret that my favorite actress ever is Legend Nicole Kidman. It’s definitely not because we share the same name (well maybe before when I was still young), but my appreciation for Kidman as an actress has really grown over the years. Sure, she might not have the numerous Oscar nods like the Blanchetts and the Winslets, and there was a point in her career where she was considered as a box office poison (which is really stupid because her films do better in the worldwide box office and US ≠ world), but she really takes on interesting projects and directors despite compromising situations. As a matter of fact, I think she belongs solely on a category that is a movie star that is also an auteur darling. She’s an A-list star but she does more indies than commercial outings, and that’s probably one of the reasons why I love her. As for the other reasons, here are 12 performances that will help you understand what I’m saying.
12. THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY (1996)
In one of Jane Campion’s underrated pieces, Kidman played lead character Isabelle Archer who in the midst of finding herself gets entangled in a complicated twists and turns resulting to her further desolate life. Kidman has her way of portraying sadness in the screen quite effectively, and this is one of the complex ones. It’s quite sad that this turned out to be underwhelming to a lot of people, but I say it’s a matter of releasing it in a time not ready for it. I’ve read a lot of sudden appreciation for this film, and one of its biggest asset is that of the actors’ performances in it, including Kidman’s.
11. HEMINGWAY & GELLHORN (2012)
Kidman’s first foray into the TV movie territory is via Philip Kauffman’s Hemingway and Gellhorn with Clive Owen. While the overall response to the film was mixed, Kidman’s performance as journalist Martha Gellhorn earned good response resulting to Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG nominations. What I particularly like about this performance is that it shows Kidman’s variety in approaching characters. While she also has the physicalities in it, she also punches the emotional needs of the character effortlessly.
10. THE HOURS (2002)
On one hand, I’m glad to see that Kidman’s take on author Virginia Woolf is what paved her way to Oscar glory. It’s really a combination of the voice, the nose, and the whole physical changes that she did that made it memorable. It’s even more impressive to learn that she shot this film at a stage in her career when her personal life is going into shambles. However, it’s a bit saddening that she won her Oscar for this, when it’s not even one of her five best performances. Yes, the train station scene was pure acting gold, but I guess I’ll have to settle with the fact that an Oscar is an Oscar no?
09. EYES WIDE SHUT (1999)
Probably one of the best career highlights that Nicole Kidman ever had was that she got to work with the great late Stanley Kubrick on his final film. While the production for the film has reached over two years in the making, it was two years worth working for. Kidman even herself wrote a letter about how much she find this film memorable and important to her saying she learned a lot from this film. And this is also one of her underrated performances, as she was magnetic all throughout in it.
08. MARGOT AT THE WEDDING (2007)
There is just something so brave about Kidman’s options that makes you ask WTF when you watch the movie, but goes on understanding why she chose to do that film by the end. That’s where Noah Baumbach’s Margot at the Wedding falls too. Probably darker than the other more obvious comedies, Kidman’s Margot exudes this vulnerability and awkwardness that translates not only to the other characters in the film but to the audience as well. Plus, you can’t take the tree climbing scene against her.
07. DOGVILLE (2003)
One of the most memorable risks that Nicole Kidman did in her career was after her Oscar win, when she was the top A-list actress in Hollywood, she opted to work with someone like Lars von Trier. Of course, we know von Trier has been tried and tested when it comes to his actresses, giving them risky roles and churning out fearless performances. And that’s exactly what we have witnessed in Nicole’s performance of Grace in the film. How she failed to nab the Cannes Best Actress that year is beyond me.
06. THE PAPERBOY (2013)
Kidman’s latest movie offering is from one of the critically panned movies of last year: Cannes entry The Paperboy by Lee Daniels. Despite the movie getting unanimous thumbs down response, what seemed to be the only silver lining in it is that of Kidman’s performance. As Charlotte Bless, the white trash who Zac Efron’s character fancies like no other, not only does she performed a telepathic sex scene with John Cusack, but she also peed on Zac. How Legend does it at 45 showed no signs of stopping for this bravura actress.
05. THE OTHERS (2001)
In a one two punch of her 2001 performances that showed her versatility as an actress, first we get to see Nicole Kidman in Alejandro Amenabar’s The Others. In the film, she played single mother Grace, who comes to so much extent of love in order to defend her children. Despite the film being of horror genre, Nicole commanded the screen showing a boatload of emotions, that of love, hope, and even confusion as the movie unravels. It’s one of those performances that just sizzled all throughout the movie.
04. MOULIN ROUGE! (2001)
As for her other 2001 performance, it’s from Baz Luhrmann’s Oscar Best Picture nominee Moulin Rouge! For this, she received her first Academy Award nomination in 2001. What’s fascinating about this performance is that she did almost everything here. Sings? Check. Dances? Check. Makes us laugh? Check. Makes us cry? Check. Satine has turned out to be one of the most memorable movie characters of the last decade, and this performance is here to stay. This is a good representation of how she penetrated Hollywood, and there’s no turning back then.
03. RABBIT HOLE (2010)
For her first producing duties, Nicole Kidman chose this Tony award winning play and gave a really depressing and heartbreaking performance as Becca Corbett, the grieving mother of a child who died from an accident. While she gets a lot of Oscar scenery chewing scenes it, the Kidman in this film is annoying but sensible, open but still holds back every now and then, and it is the subtle moments in it that actually remains more with the viewers after. Also, this is her Oscar comeback, as it was her first nominations after winning eight years ago for The Hours.
02. TO DIE FOR (1995)
Before, she was simply seen as Mrs. Tom Cruise and the Aussie eye candy that he has. But all it took was a single performance that will change the way she is perceived in Hollywood. That performance came from her character as Suzanne Stone Maretto in Gus Van Sant’s To Die For. In it, she was just deliciously evil playing her comedic skills to the top. It was such a natural performance that hits right with the tone that van Sant aimed in this movie, and the result is a new found Hollywood actress, aside from her Golden Globe win that year.
01. BIRTH (2004)
And Nicole Kidman’s best performances comes from the underrated Jonathan Glazer cult classic Birth. As Anna, Kidman plays a wife who thinks her dead husband reincarnated in the form of a ten year old boy. Kidman was just on a different level here. The intensity of her performance lingers to you all throughout. I just can’t at how intense the character was from the way it was written, but her performance just elevates in further. Plus, it featured the classic close up “theater scene” which still is one of the best acting moments I’ve ever seen in any film.
Now, let me ask you, what is/are your favorite Nicole Kidman performance/s? Pipe them in below!
By the way, the reason why I wrote this is because it is Legend’s 46th birthday today. Happy birthday to my favorite actress! 😀
As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl