On 20 June, City Connect celebrates the birthday of Nicole Kidman – actress, singer, producer and humanitarian – born on this day in 1967. Nicole Kidman began her career in 1983, starring in various Australian film and television productions until her breakthrough in the 1989 thriller Dead Calm. Nicole Kidman’s notable films include To Die For (1995), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Moulin Rouge! (2001), The Hours (2002), Cold Mountain (2003), The Interpreter (2005), Australia (2008) and Rabbit Hole (2010).
After appearing in the Australian miniseries Bangkok Hilton, Nicole Kidman starred in Dead Calm (1989) which garnered strong reviews and brought Kidman to international recognition. She moved on to star alongside her then-boyfriend and future husband, Tom Cruise, in the 1990 auto racing film Days of Thunder. This was Kidman’s American debut and was among the highest-grossing films of the year.
In 1991, her work in the film Billy Bathgate earned Nicole 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 (1992), which was a modest critical and commercial success. In 1993, she starred in My Life opposite Michael Keaton and the thriller, Malice opposite Alec Baldwin.
In 1999, Nicole Kidman reunited with then husband, Tom Cruise, to portray a married couple in Eyes Wide Shut, the final film of Stanley Kubrick. The film opened to generally positive reviews but 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 from Cruise, Kidman returned to the screen to play a mail-order bride in the British-American drama Birthday Girl.
In 2001, Nicole Kidman played the cabaret actress and courtesan Satine in Baz Luhrmann’s musical Moulin Rouge!, opposite Ewan McGregor. The film was a critical and commercial success. Subsequently, Kidman received her second Golden Globe Award, for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, as well as other acting awards. She also received her first Academy Award nomination, for Best Actress.
In 2003, Nicole Kidman won critical praise for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s The Hours. Kidman wore prosthetics that were applied to her nose making her almost unrecognisable playing the author during her time in 1920s England, and her bouts with depression and mental illness while trying to write her novel, Mrs. Dalloway. The film earned several nominations, including for an Academy Award for Best Picture. 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, Nicole Kidman appeared in Anthony Minghella’s war drama Cold Mountain (2003), was a critical and commercial success. Kidman appeared opposite Jude Law and Renée Zellweger and received her sixth Golden Globe nomination at the 61st Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress.
In 2004 Nicole Kidman appeared in the black comedy-science-fiction film The Stepford Wives, a remake of the 1975 film of the same name. The film, directed by Frank Oz, was critically panned and a commercial failure. The following year, Kidman appeared opposite Sean Penn in the Sydney Pollack thriller The Interpreter, playing UN translator Silvia Broome.
In conjunction with her success in the film industry, Nicole Kidman became the face of the Chanel No. 5 perfume brand. She starred in a campaign of television and print ads with Rodrigo Santoro, directed by Moulin Rouge! director Baz Luhrmann, to promote the fragrance during the holiday seasons of 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008. The three-minute commercial produced for Chanel No. 5 made Kidman the record holder for the most money paid per minute to an actor after she reportedly earned US$12million for the three-minute advert.
Nicole Kidman starred in the commercially successful fantasy-adventure, The Golden Compass (2007), playing the villainous Marisa Coulter. 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. Despite the film’s mixed reviews, the acting was praised and the movie was a box office success worldwide.
In 2010, Nicole Kidman starred with Aaron Eckhart in the film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Rabbit Hole. In 2011, Nicole Kidman starred alongside Nicolas Cage in director Joel Schumacher’s action-thriller Trespass, with the stars playing a married couple taken hostage.
In 2012, Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen perform in an HBO film directed by Philip Kaufman about Ernest Hemingway and his relationship with Martha Gellhorn. entitled Hemingway & Gellhorn. Kidman will also star in Lee Daniels’ adaptation of the Pete Dexter novel, The Paperboy with Zac Efron.
Nicole Kidman has raised money for, and drawn attention to, disadvantaged children around the world. In 1994, she was appointed a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. On Australia Day 2006, Kidman received Australia’s highest civilian honor when she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia. Kidman has been married twice, first to actor Tom Cruise, and then to singer Keith Urban.
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