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Best Supporting Actress, Nicole Kidman in 'Stoker'

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Monday, Mar 18, 2013
Nicole Kidman’s Evie is a combination of a supporting Hitchcock character, with a Tennessee Williams character as imagined by Ingmar Bergman. Oscar!
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Director: Park Chan-wook
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver

(Fox Searchlight Pictures; US theatrical: 1 Mar 2013)

A lot of you are still mourning over the fact Nicole Kidman wasn’t even nominated for her stellar star turn in The Paperboy, but it’s time we move on and see what this exciting actress is bringing to the table this year. We’re barely three months into 2013 and she’s already delivered outstanding performances at the Grammys (where she acted like she was having fun even if it was the most boring show they’ve done to date) and as Evie, the main character’s mother in Park Chan-Wook’s Stoker.

The trailers for the movie and the ad campaign in general seem to be poised into making audiences think Kidman will be playing a Shakespearean tragic mother, something like a Medea, when in fact the film allows her to display much, much more than her scenery chewing clips (which are unarguably fabulous) show.
Kidman’s Evie is a combination of a supporting Hitchcock character, with a Tennessee Williams character as imagined by Ingmar Bergman. The actress’ beauty turns into a sad irony, given her character is so needy of love, particularly that of her daughter India (Mia Wasikowska), that we wonder how can someone who looks so perfect be unhappy. Kidman brings much-needed gravitas to this movie, it seems as if she studied the psycho-biddy subgenre that allowed actresses of a certain age to indulge in camp with just the right amount of dignity.

Kidman’s work has already been praised by her co-stars, “she was so open and kind and warm and took me under her wing” said Wasikowska in a recent interview with PopMatters, “it was great to watch her work because she tries a whole array of things. She’s pretty bold as a person and an actress. She’s not self conscious”.

Will Kidman receive an Oscar nomination for a movie that has been as polarizing with the critics as this? Probably not, but it’s very important that people open their eyes to her adventurousness, especially after they failed to acknowledge her brilliant turn last in Lee Daniel’s pulpy melodrama last year. “What’s nice about her is that you can’t help but have preconceptions about her…and then she’s so much fun!” said Matthew Goode, “if you’d told me at 8 ‘you’re going to make a film with her and you’ll probably be holding her boob’ I would’ve said I don’t believe it”. Nicole was “inspiring” he said.

She is just as interested in the art of cinema as someone with more arthouse cred (like Tilda Swinton), and in recent years Kidman has worked with the likes of Philip Kaufman, Oliver Hirschbiegel, Noah Baumbach and even reunited with Baz Luhrmann. Her projects haven’t always been successes, but was Meryl able to say she’d been working with such renowned auteurs when she was Kidman’s age? 

So for what it’s worth, let’s get the ball rolling…

Fox Searchlight’s Stoker is now playing in theaters.

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