Nicole Kidman – American Film Institute

Nicole Kidman

49th AFI Life Achievement Award Honoree

An Academy Award®, BAFTA, Emmy® and Golden Globe Award winner, Nicole Kidman has earned a reputation for her extraordinary talent, commitment to her craft and desire to collaborate with auteur filmmakers including Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Karyn Kusama, Baz Luhrmann, Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Aaron Sorkin, Gus Van Sant and Lulu Wang.

After a stunning breakthrough performance in the psychological thriller DEAD CALM (1989) and making her foray into Hollywood films in Tony Scott’s DAYS OF THUNDER (1990), Kidman proved her talent early on to move seamlessly between independent and studio films as a powerhouse performer. She has gone on to captivate global audiences ever since, with remarkably nuanced performances characterized by their unflinching courage, vulnerability and tenacity.

For her performance as Suzanne Stone in Gus Van Sant’s satirical dark comedy TO DIE FOR (1995), Kidman took home her first Golden Globe Award. In 1996, Kidman teamed up with acclaimed director Jane Campion for their first project together, THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, later collaborating with Campion as a producer on the film IN THE CUT (2003) and starring in her critically acclaimed series TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL (2017).

Continuing to deliver complex and versatile performances, Kidman returned to the theater – where she first honed her craft as a young teenager in Sydney, Australia – and made her highly lauded London stage debut in 1998 in “The Blue Room,” David Hare’s modern adaptation of Schnitzler’s “La Ronde.” For her performance, Kidman won London’s Evening Standard Award and was nominated in the Best Actress category for a Laurence Olivier Award.

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An Academy Award®, BAFTA, Emmy® and Golden Globe Award winner, Nicole Kidman has earned a reputation for her extraordinary talent, commitment to her craft and desire to collaborate with auteur filmmakers including Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Karyn Kusama, Baz Luhrmann, Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Aaron Sorkin, Gus Van Sant and Lulu Wang.

After a stunning breakthrough performance in the psychological thriller DEAD CALM (1989) and making her foray into Hollywood films in Tony Scott’s DAYS OF THUNDER (1990), Kidman proved her talent early on to move seamlessly between independent and studio films as a powerhouse performer. She has gone on to captivate global audiences ever since, with remarkably nuanced performances characterized by their unflinching courage, vulnerability and tenacity.

For her performance as Suzanne Stone in Gus Van Sant’s satirical dark comedy TO DIE FOR (1995), Kidman took home her first Golden Globe Award. In 1996, Kidman teamed up with acclaimed director Jane Campion for their first project together, THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY, later collaborating with Campion as a producer on the film IN THE CUT (2003) and starring in her critically acclaimed series TOP OF THE LAKE: CHINA GIRL (2017).

Continuing to deliver complex and versatile performances, Kidman returned to the theater – where she first honed her craft as a young teenager in Sydney, Australia – and made her highly lauded London stage debut in 1998 in “The Blue Room,” David Hare’s modern adaptation of Schnitzler’s “La Ronde.” For her performance, Kidman won London’s Evening Standard Award and was nominated in the Best Actress category for a Laurence Olivier Award.

Over the next few years, Kidman left no doubt as to her status as a spellbinding movie star, with her daring performance as Alice Harford in Stanley Kubrick’s EYES WIDE SHUT (1999) and captivating portrayal of Satine in Baz Luhrmann’s MOULIN ROUGE! (2001). For her dazzling performance in Lurhmann’s innovative musical, Kidman was nominated for her first Academy Award® for Best Actress.

The following year, Kidman gave a wonderfully restrained and transformational turn as Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s THE HOURS (2002) and won the Oscar® for Best Actress. In their review of the film, The New York Times called her portrayal of Woolf “a performance of astounding bravery.”

“She has an insatiable appetite to explore new worlds and characters and her range is quite extraordinary.”
– Lauren Bacall, Actress in DOGVILLE

Kidman continued pushing boundaries and expectations, working on films like Anthony Minghella’s COLD MOUNTAIN (2003), Lars von Trier’s DOGVILLE (2005), Nora Ephron’s BEWITCHED (2005), Sydney Pollack’s THE INTERPRETER (2005) and Luhrmann’s AUSTRALIA (2008). In 2010, Kidman expanded into film and television producing, co-founding Blossom Films with her longtime producing partner Per Saari to support artists and explore new perspectives. The release of their first film, RABBIT HOLE (2010), based on the stage play of the same name, starred Kidman as Becca and was directed by John Cameron Mitchell. For her performance, Kidman was nominated for her third Academy Award®, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

She has found a way…to tell stories that are interesting, about women, made by women, produced by women.”
– Jane Campion

In 2012, Kidman landed her first Emmy® nomination for her starring role in Philip Kaufman’s HEMINGWAY & GELLHORN. She later went on to play the villain in the beloved family film PADDINGTON (2014), star in the 2015 West End production of Anna Ziegler’s “Photograph 51,” for which she won London’s Evening Standard Award, and receive her fourth Academy Award® nomination for her performance in Garth Davis’ LION (2016).

In 2017, the television series BIG LITTLE LIES, created by David E. Kelley, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, and starring Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoë Kravitz, premiered to great acclaim. Kidman won two Emmys® for her work on the show – Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie and Outstanding Limited Series as an Executive Producer under her Blossom Films banner.

That same year, the historical thriller THE BEGUILED, starring Kidman and directed by Sofia Coppola, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, where Kidman was honored with the 70th Anniversary Prize for her body of work and longstanding history with the festival. During her speech, Kidman committed to working with female filmmakers much more often, stating that “we women have to support female directors, that’s a given.”

In 2018, Kidman starred in Karyn Kusama’s DESTROYER, a gritty, riveting and complex crime thriller, featuring a virtuoso performance by Kidman as hardened detective Erin Bell.

Over the next few years, Kidman shifted effortlessly between television and film. Reuniting with David E. Kelley, she produced and starred in the television series THE UNDOING (2020), which was directed by Susanne Bier, and NINE PERFECT STRANGERS (2021). On the silver screen, she transformed into Gretchen Carlson for BOMBSHELL (2019) and Lucille Ball for BEING THE RICARDOS (2021), which earned Kidman her fifth Academy Award® nomination.

Renowned for her captivating presence on screen, Kidman’s many talents also include a mastery of musical performance – such as her contribution to the soundtrack for MOULIN ROUGE! Her debut single “Come What May,” a duet with co-star Ewan McGregor, was one of the highest-selling singles by an Australian singer in 2001. The song was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and is included on AFI’s 100 YEARS…100 SONGS list of the greatest American movie music, and the film was included on AFI’s list of the greatest movie musicals of all time.

In addition to her work as a producer and actress, Kidman has served as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for nearly two decades and was awarded Australia’s highest honor, the Companion of the Order of Australia, in 2006. Along with her husband, Keith Urban, she has helped raise millions over the years for the Stanford Women’s Cancer Program, a world-renowned center for research into the causes, treatment, prevention and eventual cure of women’s cancer.

Kidman’s most recent projects include EXPATS (2024), SPECIAL OPS: LIONESS (2023) and AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM (2023), and her upcoming projects include Mimi Cave’s HOLLAND, MICHIGAN, Richard LaGravenese’s A FAMILY AFFAIR, Halina Reijn’s BABYGIRL and season two of NINE PERFECT STRANGERS.

 

 

 

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THE HISTORY OF THE AFI LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

The AFI Life Achievement Award — the highest honor for a career in film — was established by the AFI Board of Trustees on February 23, 1973 to celebrate an individual whose career in motion pictures or television has greatly contributed to the enrichment of American culture.

The award is given to a “recipient whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time.”

In 1993, the AFI Board of Trustees extended the criteria to encompass individuals with active careers and work of significance yet to be accomplished.