It’s been a banner year for Nicole Kidman.
The Australian actor picked up two Emmys for the HBO miniseries “Big Little Lies,” one for herself as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series, and another as one of the show’s producers for Outstanding Limited Series.
Add that to a year that included a trip to the Oscars (nominated for her supporting role in “Lion”), work in AMC’s miniseries “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled,” John Cameron Mitchell’s Cannes Film Festival entry “How to Talk to Girls at Parties,” and in Yorgos Lanthimos’ intense drama “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (which opens Friday nationwide).
Oh, and this summer she turned 50 — with no sign of slowing down, dropping her standards or losing her elegant poise.
With “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” opening this week, it’s worth taking a look at Kidman’s past glories, of which there are many. Here, in chronological order, are seven Kidman performances worth revisiting:
1. Dead Calm (1989)
This film moved Kidman from a star in Australia to a talent to watch around the world. She plays Rae, who with her husband, John (Sam Neill), takes a sailing trip in the Pacific, which goes well until they come across an abandoned ship with only one survivor (Billy Zane). What follows in director Phillip Noyce’s drum-tight thriller will have you holding your breath and admiring Kidman’s fierce raw talent.
2. To Die For (1995)
After some girlfriend roles with then-hubby Tom Cruise (“Days of Thunder,” “Far and Away”), Kidman got a meaty role in director Gus Van Sant’s dark satire of celebrity. Here she plays Suzanne Stone, an icy TV reporter who starts filming a documentary about disaffected teenagers (including Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck) that soon gets out of hand. Her portrayal of naked ambition wrapped in a pink skirt is scary good.
3. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Easily the best and most misunderstood movie featuring Kidman and Cruise, Stanley Kubrick’s final opus of sexual disquiet is best remembered for scenes of Cruise’s doctor character witnessing artfully shaded orgy scenes. But Kidman’s performance as the good doctor’s wife, dropping some truth bombs about what women want, is too hot to be covered up.
4. Moulin Rouge! (2001)
And she sings, too. As Satine, the jaded cabaret star at the center of director Baz Luhrmann’s kaleidoscopic musical romance, Kidman commands the screen and drives all the men around her (Ewan McGregor, Richard Roxburgh, Jim Broadbent) mad with passion. And she does it all while channeling the songs of Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Elton John and Marilyn Monroe.
5. The Hours (2002)
Kidman won her Oscar in director Stephen Daldry’s adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s novel, a sensitive drama that tells three stories with three things in common: women, depression and “Mrs. Dalloway.” Kidman’s story is the fulcrum, donning a prosthetic nose to portray “Mrs. Dalloway” author Virginia Woolf, whom she captures in all her prickly wit and fragile health.
6. Rabbit Hole (2010)
Grief takes many forms in this intensely moving drama, adapted by David Lindsay-Abaire from his play and directed by John Cameron Mitchell. Kidman and Aaron Eckhart play a once-happy married couple still trying to pick up the pieces after their son was killed by a car. Kidman, shunning her husband’s support-group lessons and befriending the teen cartoonist (Miles Teller) who was driving the car, plumbs new depths of heartache and resilience.
7. Paddington (2015)
Kidman hasn’t fared too well in comedies (e.g. “Practical Magic,” “The Stepford Wives”), but she seems to be having a ball as the villain in this children’s adventure, based on the beloved British character. When Paddington leaves his home in Peru for London, he thinks he’s found a home with a charming family — but doesn’t realize a museum taxidermist, played by Kidman, wants this bear stuffed and mounted. Watching Kidman comically seduce the family’s crotchety neighbor (a pre-“Doctor Who” Peter Capaldi) is a wicked delight.