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10th Anniversary: Nicole Kidman On Her Oscar Win

Today is the 10th anniversary of the release of The Hours. That's just another reason to feel merry today and remember that gratitude isn't just for Thanksgiving. Especially not when it comes to the gift of cinema. We celebrate the movies all year long but we get extra weepy about the greatness of the artform right about now when drowning in awards and top ten lists .

Christmas 2002 brought three very special actresses together

Not that The Hours is an especially festive or celebratory movie but each Christmas does seem to bring us a super-depressing Best Picture Event (this year's iteration: Les Misérables)The Hours tracks three parallel women Virginia Woolf (Oscar winning Nicole Kidman), Laura Brown (Oscar nominee Julianne Moore) and Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep) who are connected by difficult personalities, anxious spirits ("I feel as if I'm unravelling"), and Woolf's masterpiece "Mrs Dalloway" which she is writing and Laura and Clarissa are reading in the braided plots. 

The 2002 Best Picture nominee is a beloved classic to actressexuals the world over and, as such, I know it's close to the heart of many of you. When I spoke with Nicole Kidman recently, we took a time machine detour to talk about her winning year. (I thought I'd save that piece of our conversation for a surprise Christmas gift for you. Surprise!) The Oscar winner herself was totally taken aback when I mentioned the approaching anniversary. "Wow. That was ten years ago?!?" 

Indeed it was, Nicole, indeed it was. 

NATHANIEL R: You've been invited back to the Oscars with Rabbit Hole recently but what's your most vivid memory of that winning journey with The Hours?


NICOLE KIDMAN: For me as a girl from Australia who sat and watched Shirley Maclaine win her Academy Award -- I think I was in my pajamas with my sister. I was like "Ohhhh' and I just fell in love with her. She said something to Jack Nicholson and I was like 'Oh, I love that woman!' From that point on I watched them. I was like  'Gosh, it would be fun to go somewhere like that!' To then actually stand up there?!

[Suddenly Serious] When I won, though, America had gone to war and it was a really strange year. It was a dark year, actually. It was very somber and I just remember that hanging over the whole show. 

At the same time it was kind of the thing that propelled me into going and trying to find my life, and find a  partner, you know, find my love. Because I was alone. That's just the weirdest place when you have such an extraordinary high and to be alone?


It's such... it's very very -- they always say you get one thing because you don't have other stuff, you know? It sort of all balances out. 

I really remember going back and the next morning waking up and I didn't have anybody, really, to call or celebrate with. No one that was a part of me. I had my kids who didn't really -- I mean, for them it was like 'oh, right' [Laughter]. My mum and dad are not, sort of, "fanny" type parents at all. It was fine for them but my dad would be so much happier if I was winning the Nobel Prize for Science. The Academy Award was interesting to them but it wasn't, like, the be all and end all at all. It would have been nice, and I've always said this, just to have someone to jump on the bed with and go "OH MY GOD!!!"

That's kind of when I went 'I better just get into finding somebody now that I'm really going to become a part of.' It was a very strange but extraordinary thing for me. Also, I've said this before , but a lot of it was about but pleasing my mother which is the simplest kind of way to describe things. I wanted her to say "great job". That was my drive for a lot of my younger years. And then, having that, it kind of happened but it kind of didn't happen at the same time so...

I would so love to win another one for the reason of having Keith in my life. I would so love to give that to him. Suddenly you go 'oh, I wish you'd been around when it all happened. This happened that night. And this happened. And it's really amazing!!!" [Laughter] 

Keith & Nicole at the Oscars for her "Rabbit Hole" nomination

NATHANIEL R: He composed a song for the movies this year "For You" from Act of Valor.

NICOLE KIDMAN: He did, that's right!

...so he could technically be nominated himself! 

Which would be amazing for him. It's so great having a partner who is artistic but not in the same field. You can really stand back and watch and not, kind of, have an opinion but watch it all happen. I love watching the music get composed and hearing music -- every day pretty much he's on the piano and the guitar.

We've got a two year-old now who taps away on the table and is already showing signs of musicality. I think my four year-old got the drama! [Laughter]

Nicole & Keith onstage in Australia in 2010

One after you. One after him.

Yeah. They'll probably end up being something really different but right now we're like 'Oh, there's the music child and there's the dramatic child!'

Nicole Kidman Wore a Tiara To Our Interview
The Paperboy Review
Supporting Actress Predictions




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Reader Comments (38)

So happy for Nicole! She better get a second Oscar, and it's surprisingly wonderful to hear her say she wants a second one. Even though "The Hours" is not her best performance (that would be 'Portrait of a Lady'), it's still a very moving and impressive portrait of Virginia Woolf.

Merry Christmas, Nathaniel!

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Do you want her to win if she's nominated?

I ask because it'll be Actress in a Supporting Role — she'll be the sixth woman to join (Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Maggie Smith, Meryl Streep and Jessica Lange) having won both Actress and Actress in a Supporting Role, unless of course Sally Field or Helen Hunt win.

I'm torn because I want her to win for something outrageous like THE PAPERBOY but I prefer her as a two-time Actress winner. She's also the most exciting (possible) nominee in the category this year.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Thanks for sharing...those were some really deep thoughts, a really fascinating insight into what it was like for her that night.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

It's truly amazing that she watched Shirley Maclaine win her Oscar about ten years before that happened.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhcu

This was great Nathaniel. Thanks for that.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

@hcu - I was wondering about that too LOL! Decided not to say anything though. Maybe she said 17 and Nathaniel didn't hear her correctly.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Thanks for saving that, Nathaniel! And happy holidays!

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

I believe that if Nicole gets nominated for The paperboy - she won't win we know - she'll be on the road for a second Oscar. She's got Grace of Monaco ahead of her and the comparison factor - how different she'll be will work as a plus. But my dream would be if she gets a second Oscar for one of the movies she produces like " The Family Fang".

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSergio

Gawd I just love her.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

Julianne Moore.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

Nathaniel... I am beginning with Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays..

Regarding The Hours... I loved the movie and all performances ... men and women alike... but

because of an error in the nominating sheets Streep's name was accidentally left off... I thought both Kidman and Streep were great ... but Streep should have won for BA and Kidman for BSA.. this is just me thinking... I did not care for Moore's performance... especially at the end when she is telling the story to Streep .. Moore talks and Streep reacts without words ... Moore sounds artificial and Streep reacts so naturally.... just watch that one scene again.

I love Moore, by the way, and she should have an Oscar on her mantle,also.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Thanks for this gift. An honor, truly.

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

Best Christmas gift of the year!!
Thank you for saving that little piece of interview and turning it in an amazing Christmas gift for all Kidmaniacs.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictor S

hcu & squasher -- i don't think i misheard her but maybe she meant her sister or maybe Australian time zones are things of magic. She was rambling and I was loving every second :)

sad man & victor -- glad you took it in the christmasy surprise spirit intended.

rick -- I believe Meryl's name was incorrect or absent on the SAG ballot if i recall correctly. I can't remember the story exactly but I don't think it would have affected Oscar either way. The top five were pretty sturdy that year since it was the same list from Globe Drama to SAG to Oscar. Meryl was probably 6th that year and as I've said before Contemporary "Normal" Women are the only kind that don't tend to win Meryl lots of awards attention. We can see the history repeating this year with HOPE SPRINGS.

December 25, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Own, this is sot sweet. And now I just had to go and get my The Hours DVD out so I can see it for the umpeenth time.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthais

Both Adaptation and The Hours listed Streep as lead, and that hindered her chances as more people liked her in Jonze joint but she wasn't a clear lead of that one.

Zelwegger was nominated as Globe Musical - Streep got the Globe Drama nodt.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

That was so candid and frank. She was at the pinnacle of her career winning her Oscar for "The Hours" and sadly had no one to share it with. Glad she seems to have found that happiness now with her new family.

December 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiam

At the Globes Awards Streep was nominated as Best Actress in a Drama for The Hours...

Streep won that year in the Best Supporting Actress category for Adaptation...

She was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars, but lost to Zeta-Jones...

But you could be right about the omission on the SAG Awards...

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrick

Nicole does have another lead actress Oscar in her, she is so domineering on screen it's just a matter of time.

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterlittle my

This is lovely. Very frank too. Those comments about her parents remind me of when she did the actors roundtable in 2010 with Colin Firth while he was on the awards trail for The King's Speech and she talked about having a stutter as a child. Something about the way she said her parents used to tell her to slow down just broke my heart. So go Keith Urban! It's nice that she seems so happy with him.

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Merry Christmas, y'all!

But reading that part of having such success and having no one to share it with really got me though. I mean, personally, i don't believe i've ever had that feeling, but i can definitely empathize with her and how awful that must've been.

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck

My favorite movie! Yay! For me it is a master class for acting, directing and writing.
I think that Nicole totally deserved her Oscar and wish her even more nominations and awards in the future!

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel B.

Didn't know this, but that explains why my iPod kept insisting on "shuffling" to the score.

And good Lord, could she be anymore charming? Nicole: I would have jumped on that bed with you. In a heartbeat.

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWalter L. Hollmann

I can't believe she shared all these things with you! You're our hero, Nathaniel.
Happy holidays, everyone!

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

rick, true -- she did get those nods for ADAPTATION. But i was talking about the Best Actress list. There seems to be this retroactive notion among fans that she was a shocking snub for The Hours but that's not he case. It was one of those years where it was pretty set in stone who the nominees would be: MOORE being the early year frontrunner; KIDMAN and ZELLWEGER being the who will win late entries;L ANE being the critical darling; HAYEK in the dream project / proud of you slot we see sometimes (see also Glenn Close last year)

STREEP, i'm assuming, was a distant 6th though some people (like me) hoped for a surprise from HUPPERT or MORTON (impossible dreams given the films) and others were hoping for GYLLENHAAL (the indie critical darling)

little my --- she better hurry then! Oscar is famously averse to 50something actresses. Only one has ever won Best Actress.

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Yes, I recall the race exactly the same way you do.

That was a memorable Oscar night! Sadly, we don't get those anymore. Brody winning and kissing Halle, Polanski, Almodóvar, Michael Moore's infamous speech, Steve Martin hosting, Barbra giving out Best Original Song to an absent Eminem and Meryl presenting the so well-deserved honorary Oscar to Peter O'Toole.

Nicole was super classy and also very sweet demanding a kiss to Denzel. Loved her dress and when she turned back to cry a little bit. I was rooting for Julianne, but she was clearly my second choice.

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue


No be really, this is so fascinating and makes for much more interesting reading than the type of PR-written, agent-approved reactions from actors after each nomination announcement. I just love how even in interviews, she's not afraid to bare something of herself and talk about/dissect her vulnerabilities. No wonder she's so happy to take chances in her filmography and be daring in her role choices!

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

^be = but

And reading over my last sentence, exclamation mark and all, I kind of sound like I'm writing insincere advertising copy in the line of: no wonder I can't get my dishes clean without . Speaking of cheesy ad cliches, maybe something like "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter/Daniel Day Lewis" should be on all of DDL's Lincoln FYC ads.

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

^be = but

And reading over my last sentence, exclamation mark and all, I kind of sound like I'm writing insincere advertising copy in the line of: no wonder I can't get my dishes clean without *insert miscellaneous brand washing liquid here*. Speaking of cheesy ad cliches, maybe something like "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter/Daniel Day Lewis" should be on all of DDL's Lincoln FYC ads.

ETA: fixed for bad HTML oversights! Sorry for the spammage

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlice


Thank you so much for posting this. Between this and the posting of Nicole's other interview that you posted, you really made my Christmas:). I was rooting for Julianne in this particular race but if somebody else had to win that night, Nicole was my 2nd choice. I really love how you got all this out of her and how open and honest she is about all of this. I really wish she can win a second one. Just when I thought I can't love her even more, you prove me wrong, Nathaniel. Thank you again.

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDrew

Great great post!!

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCole


December 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermark

Sometimes it's all about "timing".
Sometimes actresses (and actors) don't win for their best performance.
She was playing a real person in a BP nom. It's hardly possible to beat that kind of performance these days.
The Academy loves biopics.
Although, of course The Hours is not a biopic at all, only partly, but that was Nicole's storyline.
I still think The Hours is a good movie and deserves at least that BP nom.
Personally I would have choosen her co-star Julianne Moore for "Far away from Heaven", but I don't mind Nicole's win at all. There are much worse and yet we can't change that they happened.
It's all about timing in the end.
Maybe she will win again. Her chances are quite good. I doubt she will win this year, but the next years. Why not?

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

Thank you Nathaniel :).

I hope you win another Oscar, Nicole. You just keep hitting it out of the park and fingers crossed, it will happen.

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Drew -- i was rooting for Julianne at the time, too. But like Sonja says it's all about the timing. I mean, Nicole should've won the year before so it's all good. Or at least it WILL be all good if Julianne finally wins. Though now that she's entered her 50s i worry. Boo.

December 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Gosh, ten years. "The hours"was the thing that brought me to "the film experience".

December 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMagicub

I'm confused as to why Nicole watching Shirley Maclaine win an Oscar at the age of 16 is such an oddity? Is it that she was watching the Oscars in her pajamas with her sister? You can do that when you're in your teens...

December 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn


January 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRicardo

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