Nicole Mary Kidman is an Australian actress, singer, model and film producer. Kidman’s breakthrough roles were in the 1989 feature film thriller Dead Calm and television thriller miniseries Bangkok Hilton. Appearing in several films in the early 1990s, she came to worldwide recognition for her performances in the stock-car racing film Days of Thunder (1990), the romance-drama Far and Away and the superhero film Batman Forever.
Nicole Kidman Background
Kidman was born 20 June 1967 in Honolulu, Hawaii, while her Australian parents were temporarily in the United States on educational visas. Her father was Antony Kidman a biochemist, clinical psychologist and author who died of a heart attack in Singapore aged 75. Her mother, Janelle Ann is a nursing instructor who edited her husband’s books and was a member of the Women’s Electoral Lobby. Kidman’s ancestry includes Irish, Scottish and English heritage.
Being born in Hawaii, she was given the Hawaiian name “Hōkūlani”. The inspiration for the name came from a baby elephant born around the same time at the Honolulu Zoo but the name is also a commonly used Hawaiian name for girls, Hokulani meaning ‘Heavenly Star’.
At the time of Kidman’s birth, her father was a graduate student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He became a visiting fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health of the United States. Opposed to the war in Vietnam, Kidman’s parents participated in anti-war protests while living in Washington, D.C. The family returned to Australia when Kidman was four and her mother now lives on Sydney’s North Shore. Kidman has a younger sister, Antonia Kidman, a journalist and TV presenter.
Nicole Kidman Education
Kidman attended Lane Cove Public School and North Sydney Girls’ High School. She was enrolled in ballet at three and showed her natural talent for acting in her primary and high school years. She says that she was first inspired to become an actress upon seeing Margaret Hamilton’s performance as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. Kidman has revealed that she was timid as a child, saying, “I am very shy – really shy – I even had a stutter as a kid, which I slowly got over, but I still regress into that shyness. So I don’t like walking into a crowded restaurant by myself; I don’t like going to a party by myself.”
She initially studied at the Philip Street Theatre in Sydney. At Philip Street, Kidman studied alongside Naomi Watts who had attended the same high school. She also attended the Australian Theatre for Young People. Here she took up drama, mime and performing in her teens finding acting to be a refuge. Owing to her fair skin and naturally red hair, the Australian sun forced the young Kidman to rehearse in halls of the theatre. A regular at the Phillip Street Theatre, she received both encouragement and praise to pursue acting full-time.
Nicole Kidman Career
In 1983, aged 16, Kidman made her film debut in a remake of the Australian holiday season favourite Bush Christmas. By the end of 1983, she had a supporting role in the television series Five Mile Creek. She began gaining popularity in the mid-1980s after appearing in several film roles, including BMX Bandits in the same year, Watch the Shadows Dance in 1987 and the romantic comedy Windrider in 1986, which earned Kidman attention due to her racy scenes. She also appeared in several Australian productions, including the soap opera A Country Practice and the miniseries Vietnam. She also made guest appearances on Australian television programs and TV movies.
In 1988, Kidman appeared in Emerald City, based on the play of the same name. The Australian film earned her an Australian Film Institute for Best Supporting Actress. Kidman next starred with Sam Neill in Dead Calm in 1989 as Rae Ingram, playing the wife of a naval officer. The thriller brought Kidman to international recognition
In 1991, she co-starred with former classmate and friend Naomi Watts and Thandie Newton in the Australian independent film Flirting. Kidman and Watts portrayed two high school girls in this coming of age story, which won the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Film. That same year, her work in the film Billy Bathgate earned Kidman her first Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The following year, she and Cruise re-teamed for Ron Howard’s Irish epic Far and Away which was a modest critical and commercial success. In 1993, she starred in the thriller Malice opposite Alec Baldwin and the drama My Life opposite Michael Keaton.
In 1995, Kidman appeared in her highest-grossing live-action film, playing Dr. Chase Meridian, the damsel in distress, in the superhero film Batman Forever, opposite Val Kilmer as the film’s title character. The same year Kidman starred in Gus Van Sant’s critically acclaimed dark comedy To Die For, in which she played the murderous newcaster Suzanne Stone. Kidman next appeared in The Portrait of a Lady in 1996, based on the novel of the same name, alongside Barbara Hershey, John Malkovich and Mary-Louise Parker.
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The following year, she starred in the action-thriller The Peacemaker as White House nuclear expert Dr. Julia Kelly, opposite George Clooney. The film grossed $110,000,000 worldwide. In 1998, she co-starred with Sandra Bullock in the poorly received fantasy Practical Magic as a modern-day witch.[ Kidman returned to her work on stage the same year in the David Hare play The Blue Room, which opened in London.
In 1999, Kidman reunited with then husband, Tom Cruise, to portray a married couple in Eyes Wide Shut, the final film of director Stanley Kubrick. The film was subject to censorship controversies due to the explicit nature of its sex scenes. The film received further attention following Kubrick’s death shortly before its release. After brief hiatus and a highly publicized divorce, Kidman returned to the screen to play a mail-order bride in the British-American drama Birthday Girl.
In 2001, Kidman played the cabaret actress and courtesan Satine in Baz Luhrmann’s musical Moulin Rouge!, opposite Ewan McGregor. Her performance and her singing received positive reviews; Paul Clinton of CNN.com called it her best work since To Die For. Subsequently, Kidman received her second Golden Globe Award, for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, as well as many other acting awards and nominations. She also received her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
Also in 2001, she had a starring role in Alejandro Amenábar’s Spanish horror film The Others as Grace Stewart, a mother living in World War II Britain who suspects her house is haunted. Grossing over $210,947,037 worldwide, the film also earned several Goya Awards nominations, including a Best Actress nomination for Kidman. She received her second BAFTA and fifth Golden Globe nominations. Roger Ebert commented that “Alejandro Amenábar has the patience to create a languorous, dreamy atmosphere and Nicole Kidman succeeds in convincing us that she is a normal person in a disturbing situation and not just a standard-issue horror movie hysteric.” Kidman was named the World’s Most Beautiful Person by People magazine.
In 2002, Kidman won critical praise for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s The Hours, which stars Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore. Kidman famously wore prosthetics that were applied to her nose making her almost unrecognisable playing the author during her time in 1920s England,she bouts with depression and mental illness while trying to write her novel, Mrs. Dalloway. The film earned positive notices and several nominations, including for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
The New York Times wrote that, “Ms. Kidman, in a performance of astounding bravery, evokes the savage inner war waged by a brilliant mind against a system of faulty wiring that transmits a searing, crazy static into her brain”. Kidman won numerous critics’ awards, including her first BAFTA, third Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Actress. As the first Australian actress to win an Academy Award, Kidman made a teary acceptance speech about the importance of art, even during times of war, saying, “Why do you come to the Academy Awards when the world is in such turmoil? Because art is important. And because you believe in what you do and you want to honour that and it is a tradition that needs to be upheld.”
Following her Oscar win, Kidman appeared in three very different films in 2003. The first, a leading role in Dogville, by Danish director Lars von Trier, was an experimental film set on a bare soundstage. Though the film divided critics in the United States, Kidman still earned praise for her performance. Peter Travers of Rolling Stones magazine stated “Kidman gives the most emotionally bruising performance of her career in Dogville, a movie that never met a cliche it didn’t stomp on.” The second was an adaptation of Philip Roth’s novel The Human Stain, opposite Anthony Hopkins. Her third film was Anthony Minghella’s war drama Cold Mountain. Kidman appeared opposite Jude Law and Renée Zellweger, playing Southerner Ada Monroe, who is in love with Law’s character and separated by the Civil War. TIME magazine wrote, “Kidman takes strength from Ada’s plight and grows steadily, literally luminous. Her sculptural pallor gives way to warm radiance in the firelight”. The film garnered several award nominations and wins for its actors; Kidman received her sixth Golden Globe nomination at the 61st Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress.
In 2004, she appeared in the film, Birth which received controversy over a scene in which Kidman shares a bath with her co-star, 10-year-old Cameron Bright. At a press conference at the Venice Film Festival, Kidman addressed the controversy saying, “It wasn’t that I wanted to make a film where I kiss a 10-year-old boy. I wanted to make a film where you understand love”. Kidman earned her seventh Golden Globe nomination, for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama.
On People magazine’s list of 2005’s highest paid actresses, Kidman was second behind Julia Roberts, with US$16–17 million per-film price tag. Nintendo in 2007 announced that Kidman would be the new face of Nintendo’s advertising campaign for the Nintendo DS game More Brain Training in its European market.
In 2008, she reunited with Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann in the Australian period film Australia, set in the remote Northern Territory during the Japanese attack on Darwin during World War II. Kidman played opposite Hugh Jackman as an Englishwoman feeling overwhelmed by the continent.
Kidman appeared in the 2009 Rob Marshall musical Nine, portraying the Federico Fellini-like character’s muse and Claudia Jenssen. She was featured alongside fellow Oscar winners Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz and Sophia Loren. Kidman, whose screen time was brief compared to the other actresses, performed the musical number “Unusual Way” alongside Day-Lewis. The film received several Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, earned Kidman a fourth Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, as part of the Outstanding Cast.
In 2010, she starred with Aaron Eckhart in the film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Rabbit Hole, for which she vacated her role in the Woody Allen picture You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. Her work on Rabbit Hole earned her critical acclaim, received nominations for the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and produced the film.
In June 2011, Kidman was cast in Lee Daniels’ adaptation of the Pete Dexter novel, The Paperboy. She began filming on the thriller on 1 August 2011 and The Paperboy was released in 2012. In the film, she portrayed death row groupie Charlotte Bless, and performed sex scenes that she claims not to have remembered until seeing the finished film. The film competed in the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and Kidman’s performance drew critical acclaim and among nominations for the SAG.
The Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress, gave Kidman her second Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress and her tenth nomination overall. In 2012, Kidman’s audiobook recording of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse was released at Audible.com. Kidman also co-starred in Park Chan-wook’s Stoker (2013) to positive critical response and a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. In April 2013 she was selected as a member of the main competition jury at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2014, Kidman starred in the biopic, Grace of Monaco in the title role that chronicles the 1962 crisis, in which Charles de Gaulle blockaded the tiny principality, angered by Monaco’s status as a tax haven for wealthy French subjects and Kelly’s contemplating a Hollywood return to star in Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie. Opening out of competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, the film received largely negative reviews.
In 2016, Kidman’s performance in Lion earned rave reviews, as well as nominations for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, her fourth nomination overall, the Critics Choice for Best Supporting Actress, the Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, a win in the same category at the Hollywood Film Awards as well as her third Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress and her eleventh nomination overall.
In 2017, Kidman returned to television in the seven-part miniseries adaptation of the Liane Moriarty bestseller Big Little Lies, which premiered on HBO. She produced the miniseries along with her co-star, Reese Witherspoon and the show’s director, Jean-Marc Vallée.
Her collaboration with Ewan McGregor on “Come What May” peaked at No. 27 in the UK Singles Chart. Later she collaborated with Robbie Williams on “Somethin’ Stupid”, a cover version for Williams’ swing covers album Swing When You’re Winning; the song peaked at No. 8 in the Australian ARIAnet Singles Chart and at No. 1, for three weeks, in the UK. In 2006, while voicing a role in the animated movie Happy Feet, she provided vocals for Norma Jean’s “heartsong”, a slightly altered version of “Kiss” by Prince. Kidman sang in Rob Marshall’s movie musical Nine.
Nicole Kidman Discography
Her discography consists of one spoken word album, one extended play, three singles, three music videos, ten other appearances, a number of unreleased tracks and two tribute songs recorded by various artists.
Nicole Kidman Awards
In 2003, Kidman received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition to her 2002 Academy Award for Best Actress, Kidman has received Best Actress awards from the following critics’ groups or award-granting organisations: the Hollywood Foreign Press (Golden Globes), the Australian Film Institute, Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, Empire Awards, Golden Satellite Awards, Hollywood Film Festival, London Critics Circle, Russian Guild of Film Critics and the Southeastern Film Critics Association. In 2003, Kidman was given the American Cinematheque Award. She also received recognition from the National Association of Theatre Owners at the ShoWest Convention in 1992 as the Female Star of Tomorrow and in 2002 for a Distinguished Decade of Achievement in Film.