What a time to be alive, folks, for we are in the midst of a full-blown Kidmanaissance. Which is not to say that she ever took a break from delivering extraordinary performances. To the contrary, Nicole Kidman has been consistent throughout her career in selecting challenging, subversive roles, it’s just that people seem to forget how excellent she is once every few years. Fortunately, on the heels of her Academy Award-nominated turn in Lion, the wildfire success of her highpoint turn on HBO’s Big Little Lies combined with a robust — not double, not triple, but quadruple whammy at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (Top of the Lake, The Beguiled, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Kidman is firmly back in the spotlight where she belongs.
It’s not entirely surprising that folks have a hard time knowing how to categorize Kidman — she’s an actress who resists it at every turn. Despite the magnetism and classic movie star looks that earned her plenty of early career roles as love interests and leading ladies, Kidman has demonstrated a defiant career path over the last two decades. Sure, there have been some missteps along the way (though I still contend she would have made a fantastic Samantha in a better Bewitched movie), but that’s to be expected when a performer is constantly taking risks. She veers left at every moment the industry would expect her to go right, opting for oddball films over popcorn paychecks and prestige pictures and consistently finding compelling, complex female characters whether she’s taking on top-billing or a sight supporting role.
In fact, if you take the time to go back and rewatch her resume, it’s immediately obvious just how many outstanding performance Kidman has turned out over the years, which is exactly how you end up with a Top 10 list of her performances that doesn’t have Eyes Wide Shut, Dogville, or The Others on it. To see what did make the cut, check out the list below.