Nicole Kidman’s 12 Best Film Performances, From ‘Birth’ to ‘Moulin Rouge’

Nicole Kidman has captivated Hollywood for more than three decades, with a career marked by transformative roles, outstanding performances and a profound impact on the cinematic landscape. As she receives the prestigious AFI Life Achievement Award, Variety honors her career by ranking her top 12 film performances.

Born in Honolulu and raised in Australia, Kidman first made waves in the U.S. with her role in Phillip Noyce’s thriller “Dead Calm” (1989), starring opposite Sam Neill and Billy Zane. Her performance set the stage for more diverse and compelling roles to follow. She soon after earned her first Golden Globe nomination for supporting actress as the mistress Drew Preston in Robert Benton’s gangster film “Billy Bathgate” (1991) opposite Dustin Hoffman.

Kidman has received five Oscar nominations throughout her illustrious career. Her first came as the vibrant showgirl Satine in Baz Luhrmann’s musical extravaganza “Moulin Rouge!” (2001). The following year, she won the Academy Award for best actress for her haunting transformation into author Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s poignant drama “The Hours” (2002). Hollywood continued to recognize her talent with additional Oscar noms including supporting actress in Garth Davis’ “Lion” (2016) and actress for John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole” (2010) and Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos” (2021).

Kidman’s adoration from her peers and the media has blossomed with 16 Golden Globe noms across film and television, securing six wins. That also includes a statuette for her performance in the black comedy “To Die For” (1995) which became one of her most notable snubs at the Oscars. Recently she has captivated television audiences in several series, winning two Emmys for her performance in “Big Little Lies.”

Ryan Pfluger

Beyond her film roles, Kidman has also explored television, demonstrating remarkable versatility as a producer. In HBO’s hit miniseries “Big Little Lies,” she not only starred as Celeste Wright, a woman battling domestic abuse, but she also served as an executive producer along with Reese Witherspoon. Her role earned her a Primetime Emmy Award for lead actress, along with the show taking home outstanding limited series.

Kidman’s legacy has been built on her relentless pursuit of authentic and challenging roles that have allowed her to deepen and refine her craft. By continuously selecting projects that defy expectations, she remains a luminous figure in the landscape of modern cinema.

Read Variety’s ranking of Kidman’s best movie performances below and celebrate a career that continues to resonate with audiences worldwide.

This post was originally published on Variety

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