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With a widely-anticipated outing in DC superhero flick Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom this coming Christmas and an appearance in psychological thriller Holland, Michigan currently in production, Nicole Kidman is going to be firmly in the spotlight in the months to come.

In truth, the Academy Award-winning actor never really left it, transitioning from young Hollywood starlet to mid-career leading lady with the minimum of fuss, without compromising her determination to take on independent dramas just as often as big-budget Hollywood blockbusters. Here are 10 of Kidman’s finest performances on both the big and small screens.

10. Australia

Australia – trailer

In the 20-year gap between Baz Luhrmann’s Best Picture nominations for Moulin Rouge! (2003) and Elvis (2022), the Australian director produced some choice features, including the Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle The Great Gatsby (2013). Less critically acclaimed but still watchable was Australia, a 2008 historical epic set during the early years of the Second World War. Kidman plays an English aristocrat whose husband is killed – apparently by an Aboriginal – before her arrival at a remote cattle station, where she falls in love with a drover played with grizzled panache by Hugh Jackman. Subplots involving a surrogate son and a rivalry with another cattle rancher provide emotional heft, and Kidman’s work here is never less than competent, though the film’s bloated runtime and telegraphed ending meant that both she and Luhrmann were overlooked by the major awards ceremonies.

9. Batman Forever

Batman Forever – trailer

Haters of Joel Schumacher-era Batman would rather forget about this 1995 sequel to Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), but those willing to overlook the day-glo esthetics and batty plot will find much to like in Batman Forever, with Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones forming a gloriously chaotic double act as the Riddler and Harvey Two-Face, despite their famously turbulent on-set relations. Kidman, meanwhile, makes the most of her screen time opposite Val Kilmer’s Batman as Chase Meridian, a psychologist who gets under the Caped Crusader’s skin – “do I need skin-tight vinyl and a whip?” – before the pair begin a relationship. The character is neither as compelling nor as likable as Vicki Vale from the 1989 original, but Kidman makes the most of the material, and her onscreen romance quietly smolders.

8. Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut – trailer

Stanley Kubrick’s final film was a box office hit on release in 1999, but removal of rose-tinted spectacles shows it to be neither as groundbreaking nor compelling as Kubrick believed it to be (the revered director died four months before its premiere). Kidman and Tom Cruise star as Alice and Bill, a respectable New York couple harboring secret desires for other people. Bill discovers a sex cult, and receives threatening letters from its members, while Alice dreams of sex with other men. Throughout, it struggles with tone, never quite succeeding in establishing its credentials either as a psychological thriller or titillating erotic drama. Being a Kubrick feature, however, it is exquisitely shot, with some technically flawless long takes – and the whole thing is underpinned by two intense, heartfelt performances from Kidman and Cruise as the protagonists.  

7. Strangerland

Strangerland – trailer

This slow-burning Australian drama met with mixed reviews on its release in 2015, but a star-studded cast including Joseph Fiennes and Hugo Weaving elevates it above the mundane. Kidman plays Catherine, the wife of Fiennes’ character Matthew, and the mother to Tom and Lilly, their teenaged children, who disappear shortly after the family move to a remote town in the Australian outback. An investigation begins, during which it is establishes that Lilly has had several underage sexual relationships, including with a former teacher in the family’s former hometown. The resulting web of strained family dynamics, underpinned by Catherine’s hurt and Matthew’s shame and anger, is played out against the barren, blasted landscape of Australia’s Northern Territory; and the storyline’s bleakness is heightened by Kidman’s committed portrayal of a distraught mother.

6. Dogville

Dogville – trailer

Lars von Trier’s 2003 drama is not for the faint of heart. It is notorious for its avant-garde credentials and its unflinching depictions of the most gruesome acts of violence, all to convey the message that evil can arise even in the most close-knit of communities. Kidman is on form as Grace, who, on the run, proves her worth around the town of Dogville and is slowly accepted by the inhabitants – until the authorities put up wanted posters. Conflicted between turning her in and continuing to shelter her, a twisted power dynamic begins to appear, as Grace is slowly turned into a slave, and repeatedly violated by members of the community. Von Trier’s misanthropy is on full show here, but Kidman’s restrained performance does much to put the sledgehammery denouement in its proper perspective.

5. The Railway Man

The Railway Man – trailer

Based on a true story, the 2013 drama The Railway Man told the story of Eric Lomax, a member of Britain’s “forgotten army” who fought in the Far East during the Second World War. Played by Colin Firth, Lomax’s harrowing story of forced labor and torture in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp is complemented by contemplative work by Kidman as wife Patricia, who accompanies him decades later on his journey back to Burma to seek closure for his traumatic memories. The film did middling box office, but Kidman attracted rave reviews for one of her most affecting and understated performances.

4. Moulin Rouge!

Moulin Rouge! – trailer

Kidman’s first collaboration with Baz Luhrmann was a critical and commercial success. Ewan McGregor, fresh from the first of several widely lauded performances as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels, turns in solid work here as Christian, a down-on-his-luck writer in fin de siècle Paris. But it’s Kidman who steals the show as Satine, a courtesan who ends up in a love triangle between Christian and the Duke of Monroth, who angles for Satine’s hand with the connivance of the Moulin Rouge’s owner in exchange for money to keep the cabaret going. As pure melodrama, the premise would work well enough; add in some scintillating musical numbers, excellent supporting work from luminaries such as Jim Broadbent, Richard Roxburgh, and Kylie Minogue, and the result is a delightful movie that has rightly taken its place in the pantheon of great musicals.

3. Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies – trailer

Small but perfectly formed, the series – on which Kidman also worked as an executive producer – bowed out after two seasons and just 14 episodes, although Big Little Lies caused quite the stir upon its debut on HBO back in 2017. Featuring an impressive cast including Laura Dern and Reese Witherspoon, the drama told the story of five women living in suburban California whose lives are affected by a murder in their community. Over the course of the show’s two seasons, their seemingly happy existences slowly unravel, with plotlines including domestic violence, post-divorce jealousy, and strained mother-daughter relationships. Kidman’s work as domestic abuse survivor Celeste Wright won her a Golden Globe and a Primetime Emmy, and Big Little Lies stands as perhaps Kidman’s most impressive television outings to date.

2. Dead Calm

Dead Calm – trailer

Dead Calm confirmed Sam Neill’s status as a bona fide leading man – a well-received outing in The Hunt For Red October (1990) and a career-defining performance as Alan Grant in Jurassic Park (1993) would soon follow – but Kidman gives equally good value in this taut 1989 thriller. Neill and Kidman play John and Rae, a husband and wife who, having lost their young son in a car accident, embark on a boating trip on the high seas in order to collect themselves. Soon, they encounter a waterlogged schooner manned by a single sailor, Hughie, who tells them the crew is dead from food poisoning – but when John goes aboard, he finds nothing but mangled corpses. Hughie sails away with Rae, and the stage is set for some well-judged suspense scenes, as well as a dash of horror. At the time, critics balked at the over-the-top finale, but flawless work from Neill as the determined John, Kidman as the courageous Rae, and a pre-Titanic Billy Zane as the unhinged Hughie more than make up for the plot’s farfetchedness.

1. The Hours

The Hours – trailer

Kidman’s Academy Award-winning performance in The Hours remains as mesmerizing now as it was on release in 2002. Set across three time periods and settings, including 1950s suburbia and the literati circles of early 20th Century New York, it would take some truly stupendous work to top three-time Oscar-winner Meryl Streep’s portrayal of a literary editor, or Julianne Moore’s equally impressive work as a repressed housewife in Eisenhower’s America. Kidman outshines them both in a dazzling performance as troubled novelist Virginia Woolf, who, in 1920s England, receives a visit from her sister and her family – a blissful domestic backdrop against which her battle with mental illness is played out, always movingly, at times harrowingly. The performance bagged Kidman an Oscar, a BAFTA, and – alongside Streep and Moore – the Berlin International Film Festival’s Silver Bear for Best Actress, firmly cementing her position as one of Hollywood’s finest.


By: Craig Jones
Title: Nicole Kidman’s best movies and TV shows, ranked
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Published Date: Fri, 01 Sep 2023 07:27:16 +0000

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Why the U.S. Worlds Team is Perfect and Exactly What We Wanted



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The U.S. trials for both the world championships and Pan American Games teams were held over the past couple of days, with an all-around competition held on Tuesday, followed by a more relaxed situation where the athletes could pick two events. A couple of hours after the second day of competition concluded, the selection committee had two full teams ready to go, with the worlds team pretty strategically perfect, at least based on my very specific qualifications.

My impression of the first night was that many athletes looked exhausted and not quite up to the task, especially given how late in the day the competition was, and how long things dragged on, with each rotation taking around 45 minutes, double what these athletes are used to at elite meets.

The fatigue affected some of the best, including Simone Biles, who had some uncharacteristically weak form at various points throughout the night, which caused a fall on her van Leeuwen and some smaller mistakes on beam and floor. In her final event, Biles over rotated her Yurchenko double pike on vault, which ended up looking like more of a timer as she threw the skill to her back, but she nonetheless won the competition with a 55.700, down several points from what she showed she was capable of at nationals, but still enough to finish in first place and automatically qualify to the worlds team.

Coming closest was Shilese Jones, who had a very strong meet going up until bars. Actually, I’d Include bars as part of her strong meet, as the routine was excellent, and the mistake that ended up costing her a full point in deductions – a brush of her feet on the mat after her Pak salto – didn’t affect her rhythm at all to the point where it wasn’t noticeable to anyone watching. The view of her feet was cut off for the viewer watching on the stream, but while you’d still notice a flaw in the gymnast’s movements in most cases like these, Jones seamlessly continued into the rest of her routine and finished well. When her score came up as 13.5, it was shocking, but on the second day she came back sans foot drama, connected the Pak to van Leeuwen, increased her difficulty score to a 6.5 – third highest in the world – and scored a 14.75 total, once again proving what a threat she is for a bars medal.

Skye Blakely came into this trial as one of my three locks for the team along with Biles and Jones, and everything she did here to finish third all-around confirmed this opinion. Her floor still isn’t really usable, but she offers so much on bars and beam, both of which have been so consistent this season, and her vault is yet another solid Yurchenko double full, which the team might not need, though could use in a pinch if needed. She did have a fall on a bars release on day two, but with everything else she’s done there this year, this mistake changed absolutely nothing for me.

Rounding out the top five were Joscelyn Roberson and Leanne Wong, though they would have been my next team picks regardless of where they had fallen in the all-around rankings. While they weren’t locks for me in the sense that there were a few other solid options and I wasn’t sure if the selection committee would match my brainwaves, they were the two I wanted most to round out the team, filling the roles of a strong multi-event specialist as well as a well-balanced utility player who might not be a top-scoring athlete on any event, but who is absolutely vital to the team thanks to her ability to step in anywhere and score nearly as well.

In the latter role, Wong was the clear winner for me. She came into this season for the first time at the U.S. Classic in August, finishing second all-around, and then surprised to win all-around bronze at nationals with even-keeled and solid performances on every apparatus across both days of competition. Wong, who stuck with her Florida coaches this year instead of going back to GAGE, has been at a level we’ve never quite seen from her – maybe not gymnastically, exactly, as we’ve seen her look strong before and with higher difficulty in some areas, but in terms of her confidence and the joy she’s bringing to every performance.

I’ve always been a fan of built-in alternates for teams, and while everyone is calculating numbers and putting together spreadsheets showing the top-scoring teams, I’m keeping scoring potential in mind, but also always making room for someone who adds value in a different way. It’s not super often that teams need to replace higher scores with a more consistent low score, but two very recent examples include Biles being forced to withdraw from the team final in Tokyo and Blakely’s bars being considered too much of a risk at last year’s worlds, where Wong – who only competed on vault in qualifications – was able to come in and put up a steady score for the team. With only five athletes on a team and three scores needed for each event in the final, not having a trusted backup is a scary prospect.

Between classics, nationals, and trials, Wong hit 18 out of 18 routines. She also only won a single event medal, with her silver on vault at the U.S. Classic. So there’s a massive pro, but also a massive con, but is it really a con? Does everyone on every team really need to be an individual medal contender, or is there room for those who bring a different skillset to the mix, especially when the big scores are more or less covered by other athletes and the alternative would be another specialist with high-scoring potential but an inconsistent history? Not to mention that the top all-around athletes shouldn’t be required to compete all four events in the team final, and Wong is the best option to provide relief for Biles on bars and Jones on beam or floor, for example.

If Wong proved herself ready for a spot all summer, Roberson’s done it all season, going back to her fantastic performances on vault, beam, and floor at the Winter Cup in February to her multiple 14+ scores on floor in international competition – her 14.15 at the DTB Pokal Team Challenge, 14.1 and 14.067 at Pan Ams, and 14.066 at the Cairo World Cup are the top four international scores out of over a thousand international floor scores seen in the entirety of 2023 so far – to a domestic summer season that saw her win all-around bronze at the U.S. Classic before becoming the vault champion at nationals. In my eyes, she didn’t need to do much more at trials to show her readiness, but she did it anyway, finishing first on vault and second on floor.

While I was convinced, however, my concern was that the selection committee wouldn’t be, especially when the experienced Jordan Chiles made a strong case for herself on vault and bars despite looking a bit shaky elsewhere. Experience helps in situations like a world championships meet, and Chiles was a standout last fall, putting up four excellent scores to help the team win gold in the final before going on to win medals on vault and floor. Then there were a couple of other gymnasts with standout events, like Zoe Miller on bars and Kaliya Lincoln on vault, beam, and floor, both of whom put absolutely everything into Tuesday’s all-around competition with Lincoln’s score a career-best, as well as Jade Carey on vault, where the reigning world champion excelled, scoring a 14.8 for her Cheng on day two.

Roberson and Wong were my picks to round out the top all-arounders with both a specialist and the opposite of that, but I saw the value in selecting others as well, and felt like this team could have gone several different ways. But it seems the committee and I were on the same page for once, with Roberson and Wong joining the expected Biles, Jones, and Blakely trifecta, while Kayla DiCello – who kind of quietly slipped into seventh all-around here despite a fall on bars – was named the alternate.

DiCello was also picked to compete at the Pan Am Games, along with Chiles, Lincoln, Miller, and first-year senior Tiana Sumanasekera, who won this year’s Pan Am Championships all-around title back in May. Carey was also offered a Pan Ams spot, but turned it down due to a personal conflict and will instead compete at the Swiss Cup, while Alicia Zhou, Eveylynn Lowe, and Nola Matthews earned non-traveling alternate spots for Pan Ams, and Katelyn Jong previously earned an individual spot for Pan Ams by winning the Junior Pan Am Games title in 2021, though she was injured while training vault on Tuesday, so it’s unclear whether she’ll be able to compete or not.

I understand that Carey or Miller could have added more to the team’s scoring potential than some of those who were selected, and that there are very valid arguments for other combinations of athletes, but I love the strategy the selection committee ultimately went with, even if it was by coincidence if they ultimately just went with the all-around rank order from Tuesday’s competition. Either way, what stands out most about this team is that it wasn’t just the right team based on one night, but it was also the right team based on the months of tests that preceded the trial competition. This group of athletes is exactly who I would have selected after nationals, and the potential they have for success in Antwerp is nothing short of tremendous.

Article by Lauren Hopkins


By: Lauren
Title: Why the U.S. Worlds Team is Perfect and Exactly What We Wanted
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Published Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2023 04:57:49 +0000

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Kathryn Bernardo Puts Healthcare Workers at the Forefront in Seoul



Kathryn bagged the award for her role as medical nurse Ali in the series 2 Good 2 Be True, and dedicated her win to the real healthcare workers

Over the years, Asia’s Superstar Kathryn Bernardo has played a number of iconic roles that fans will always remember. In 2010, she won the hearts of many as the young Gretchen Barretto in Magkaribal, and in 2019, with a number of successful projects under her belt, she showed a new side of her acting prowess as Joy in Hello, Love, Goodbye. Before we all say hello to Philo, the actress closes the chapter of Nurse Ali from 2 Good 2 Be True by receiving an award at Seoul International Drama Awards.

RELATED: 5 Times Kathryn Bernardo Proved She’s a Fashion Chameleon

Kathryn Bernardo Seoul International Drama Awards 2 Good 2 Be True
Photo: STAR CINEMA (via Instagram)

Making meaningful success

Yesterday, the 27-year-old artist honored her well-beloved character in the series. In her speech, she emphasized the value of health workers, as well as awareness on Alzheimer’s Disease.

The actress said, “It’s always been more than just [sharing a] love story to our audience, but also spreading awareness about Alzheimer’s disease, and educating people about those who struggle with it, and how we can offer them the best support they need. This project made me appreciate our nurses and our healthcare workers so it was really more than just another TV show for me.”

During its air, 2 Good 2 Be True simultaneously premiered on Netflix and ABS-CBN’s other online and television platforms. In the show, Ali, played by Bernardo, took care of Ronaldo Valdez’s portrayal of Lolo Sir. In the series, he was experiencing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Looking back on the role

The 130-episode run of the show was a success, with the audience applauding the team for the heavy research on medical procedures exhibited in the series. In one of the scenes, Kathryn conducted the F.A.S.T. method to confirm the stroke of Valdez’s role. Besides the factual portrayal of the procedure, viewers praised the actress’s expressive restraint playing Ali. According to some reviews, this was a factual portrayal of the health workers’ reality in their attachment to their patients.

Kathryn Bernardo Seoul International Drama Awards 2 Good 2 Be True
Photo: KATHRYN BERNARDO (via Instagram)

2 Good 2 Be True also starred the actress’ on and off screen partner, Daniel Padilla. The actor played Eloy, Lolo Sir’s estranged grandson and Ali’s love interest. Besides their established chemistry over the years, the love team’s relationship with Ronaldo Valdez’s character won the hearts of fans. In a tribute to the veteran actor, Bernardo referred to him as “the lolo I never had.”

Apart from her role as a persistent nurse, Ali was also well-beloved for being a determined dreamer and a hardworking family member. To some KathNiels, the comedic side of Alison Fajardo was also a throwback to Chichay. The latter was from the series Got 2 Believe.

On September 27, the actress will deliver a darker, more mature character as Philo in her newest film, A Very Good Girl.

Congratulations to Kathryn Bernardo for her well-deserved recognition at the Seoul International Drama Awards!

The post Kathryn Bernardo Puts Healthcare Workers at the Forefront in Seoul appeared first on MEGA.


By: Chlarine Gianan
Title: Kathryn Bernardo Puts Healthcare Workers at the Forefront in Seoul
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Published Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2023 10:17:15 +0000

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For Studios’ Bottom Lines, Awards Season May Be Stronger Than the Strikes




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The success of interim agreements — and the money left on the table not being able to give Oscar fare a proper campaign — could be enough to convince AMPTP members to finalize negotiations with the WGA and SAG.


Title: For Studios’ Bottom Lines, Awards Season May Be Stronger Than the Strikes
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Published Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2023 19:00:00 +0000

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