A lot of famous actors are known for playing predictable roles on screen and repeating the same characters over and over. But not Nicole Kidman. The Academy Award-winning actress can always be relied upon to surprise us with her performances, often playing diverse and complex characters in acclaimed movies. She is also one of the few actors who has found success on stage and in independent films, as well as in major Hollywood production. 

As one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, Kidman is also known for her stage presence and tireless work ethic, making her both a critical and commercial success. This article looks at Kidman’s wide-ranging filmography, looking at some of her most beloved roles and awarding-winning performances.

Early Career

Nicole Kidman had her first role at the age of 15, playing a supporting character in the Australian movie BMX Bandits in 1983. While the movie was never a commercial success, Kidman gained attention for her natural talent, with critics calling her a ‘promising newcomer’. This small but memorable part led to a series of other supporting roles in Australian productions, such as the miniseries Vietnam in 1987. Kidman also co-starred with Sam Neill in the horror movie Dead Calm, in 1989.

Making the Move to Hollywood

In the early 1990s, Kidman made the move to Hollywood and appeared in the drama Days of Thunder starring Tom Cruise. However, it was her role in the thriller Far and Away where Kidman truly showcased her talent and won the hearts of international audiences. In 1995, she played the beautiful but doomed Satine in the movie musical Moulin Rouge, a role which earned her a Golden Globe and BAFTA Award.

The following year, Kidman appeared alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the blockbuster movie The Beach, and also released two independent films, To Die For, and Birth. To Die For was particularly successful and was considered one of the strongest satirical comedies of the time. In the movie, Kidman starred as a television news anchor who schemes her way to fame, with her performance earning her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

International Acclaim

In 2002, Kidman turned heads with her performance in the movie The Hours, playing the troubled writer Virginia Woolf. Critics praised her performance and the movie gained resounding financial success, grossing over $100 million worldwide. It also earned Kidman a whole hatful of awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actress, making her the first Australian to earn the honour.

Kidman’s career went from strength to strength, with her critically-acclaimed movie The Others, and the romantic epic Cold Mountain. In the latter, Kidman starred alongside Jude Law and Renée Zellweger, and was awarded a Golden Globe for “Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama”.

Gaining Critical Acclaim

Kidman continued to take roles in unique and challenging movies such as Dogville, The Interpreter, and The Invasion. Many of these movies won considerable plaudits for the actress and she enjoyed a resurgence in her career, largely thanks to her multi-award-winning performance in the horror movie, The Golden Compass.

More recently, Kidman has further proven her range and talent with the movie, Rabbit Hole. Starring alongside Aaron Eckhart, Kidman showed us again that she can sail effortlessly between mainstream and independent movies. For her role, Kidman received praise from the world’s leading critics, with many calling her performance spellbinding, and won yet another Golden Globe in the process. She went onto star in the movie The Paperboy, and her most recent performance was in the mythical movie, the Goddess of Love.

Nicole Kidman is an example of how excellent acting can produce a truly diverse and interesting body of work. This is why she has been able to earn the respect and admiration of audiences and critics alike with her various performances. Whether it’s a romantic drama like Cold Mountain or a thought-provoking indie film like The Golden Compass, Kidman has shown us time and time again the complexity and range of her talent. Her award-winning performances have inspired many up-and-comers and have cemented her place as one of the world’s most renowned actresses.