Nicole Kidman may have had her ups and downs over the years in the critical limelight but ahead of turning 50 years old this June, it appears that the Australian actress has finally got it figured out. After a brief career hiatus, she's risen like a phoenix as the silver screen Queen of Cannes and considering her current mindset, we can only expect to see her soar higher:
"I'm at that stage in my life where I still try to act as if I'm 21 and starting my career. At this stage of my life, I'm just trying to stay very bold and open and try things and support film-makers I believe in."
With four #Cannes entries in tow, her dedication to investing her talent into projects she truly believes in has certainly paid off. After a few years of mediocre movie releases — ones that weren't necessarily bad, nor particularly inspiring — Kidman once again has her finger on the pulse. And after getting an Oscar nomination for Lion earlier in 2017, it's as if something's clicked and she's become the unstoppable tour de force we forgot was there in the first place. So with that being said, here's a few reason why 2017 — the wonderful Year of the Chicken — is in the process of witnessing the dawning of a new Kidmanaissance.
A Starring Role In Big Little Lies
When Big Little Lies graced out HBO screens in early 2017, it did two things — not only did the show instantly become a cultural smash hit but it also immediately deconstructed Nicole Kidman's decades-long Hollywood public image. After rising through the celebrity ranks at the speed of light thanks to her high-profile marriage to Tom Cruise in the '90s and consequently cementing her royal status in the industry, this was an opportunity to observe her operating on a raw level like never before.
As the emotionally and physically damaged Celeste Wright — peering out of her soulless, palatial mansion overlooking Monterey Bay — Nicole appeared as a fragile, little bird with broken wings in #BigLittleLies. It was a vulnerable and naked performance that may have been meant for the small screen, but had every millisecond of cinematic greatness attached to it. Without a doubt, an Emmy nomination has been in the bag since the first episode aired, something that will probably mean much more than the slew of awards already bestowed upon Kidman over the decades. Speaking recently, she revealed:
"As an actor, you are only good as the opportunities you’re given. That’s why I did something like 'Big Little Lies' because I could produce that, find that and make that happen. A lot of the time you are not in a position of power or control and I always say 'An actor can’t be a control freak.' You really have to be able to give yourself over to the process and really be willing to change and be molded. And I love that."
The Queen Of Cannes
Then came Cannes, a festival that saw Nicole Kidman essentially kill two birds with one stone, winning in the fashion stakes and simultaneously dominating the field with four spectacular projects.
In what has become one of the most successful runs for any actor or actress at the French ceremony — she made one hell of a splash this year with sci-fi comedy How to Talk to Girls at Parties, Civil-War drama #TheBeguiled, TV series Top of the Lake: China Girl and psychological thriller-horror The Killing of a Sacred Deer — it was pretty much clear from the outset that 2017 was going to be her year.
Among a slew of stunningly talented actress on the red carpet — #RuthNegga, Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman, to name but few — it was always Nicole who stood the tallest. And on top of this, being awarded the specially-created Anniversary Prize to mark the 70th year of the Cannes Film Festival proved a pretty solid turnaround for an actress who was on the receiving end of some fierce critical slamming only three years ago with Grace of Monaco — a biopic swiftly shoved in the trashcan by one critic for it's likeness to a 104-minute Chanel ad, "only without the subtlety and depth."
Come 2017, and with over 14 acting credits under belt since 2014 alone (both in TV and movie), Kidman's resilience and determination has paid off. And she'll always be the first to admit it:
"Sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed; that’s just the journey. You get back up. That’s something as a mother I try to teach my children. I’ll learn from everything. Mistakes? Make many of them, but try to get back up and keep going."
'I'm Totally Up For Taking Risks'
It is perhaps this ability to wipe away the tears and get back up what makes Nicole so commendable. Take her re-entry into the superhero world, for example. It's no secret that Nicole Kidman's role of the beautiful love interest in 1995's Batman Forever ranks pretty low on the grand scale of Hollywood's exports. But come 2017, and she's returned to the #DCEU — her first big studio movie role since 2011 — and defiantly hit the jackpot.
Stepping up to the role of Queen Atlanna in 2018, the mother of #Aquaman himself, she will rubbing shoulders with the superhero greats. And although the role in James Wan's next directorial outing is not her usual stomping ground and is unlikely to gain her overwhelming recognition, it is once again an indicator of Kidman's determination to try out new things. Over two decades on, she doesn't mind giving it another go. To use her own words:
"At this age, I still have a passion for acting and for cinema and for storytelling and for pushing boundaries and for moving out of my comfort zone… to try things with an abandonment. I’m totally up for taking risks."
The Kidmanaissance Beyond 2017
Nicole Kidman is many things. She's portrayed a femme fatale in a modern musical, a lonely Southern belle, a ruthless '90s news anchor, a psychologically-disorientated widow, a prosthetics-clad Virginia Woolf, a celebrated photographer, a grief-stricken mother, an abused wife — the list goes on. But among it all, it's clear where her merit truly lies and that is in her fluid ability to integrate herself into a kaleidoscope of roles and genres.
Ultimately, decades on, she's still proving herself to be the most varied actress in the business and very few can contend with her challenging resumé.
With another three movies currently in production stages (She Came to Me and Untouchable alongside 2018's Aquaman), 2017 is definitively Nicole Kidman's moment. And after years of millions of us marvelling at her exceptional talent, forgetting and then re-discovering it, her greatness has been firmly set in stone.
So, bring on the Kidmanaissance and let's accompany it with a generous seal clap of approval, because let's face it, this phenomenal woman certainly deserves it.
Do you think 2017 is Nicole Kidman's year?