Nicole Kidman could join an elite group of actors who have received lead and supporting Oscar bids in the same year thanks to her leading role in “Destroyer” and supporting turn in “Boy Erased.” “As an actor, I’m grateful to have such great roles,” she says, especially considering “it gets harder as you get older. It just does. So the idea of having two really rich female characters, both of them mothers, and being able to put them out in the world like this” is “a blessing.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“Destroyer” casts Kidman as Erin Bell, a hard-bitten police detective who spent years undercover in a drug ring. Years later she must confront her demons when the violent gang leader returns. “I’d never been asked to do anything like it,” she reveals, “and I emotionally felt her. I cried when I read the script.” She admits to being nervous that director Karyn Kusama “would just think I couldn’t do it” since it was so far outside her wheelhouse.
While on its surface the film is a crime thriller, it also deals with how Erin’s past has damaged her relationship with her teenage daughter (Jade Pettyjohn). “As much as it’s considered a genre picture, I see it as a classical tragedy in a way,” Kidman explains, “and also a story about a mother seeking to make a better life for her child.”
That’s also the case with “Boy Erased,” a true-life drama about a young man (Lucas Hedges) sent to conversion therapy when his Baptist pastor father (Russell Crowe) and his mother (Kidman) discover he’s gay. The actress admits to not knowing about the practice until reading Joel Edgerton‘s script, and indeed “a lot of people” aren’t familiar with it until they hear this story.
But while the film endeavors to bring attention to this debunked form of “therapy,” which is still legal in much of the United States, it’s also “about a mother who’s making amends to her child for a huge thing that she knows she did that was wrong.” But despite the harm she caused, her actions weren’t “malicious. She didn’t do it because she wanted to hurt him. She did it because she wanted” to do “what she thought would help him.”
Kidman won the Best Actress Oscar for “The Hours” (2002) and also earned nominations for “Moulin Rouge!” (Best Actress, 2001), “Rabbit Hole” (Best Actress, 2010), and “Lion” (Best Supporting Actress, 2016). Then she moved to TV and ran the board with victories at the Emmys, SAG Awards and Golden Globes for the first season of the HBO series “Big Little Lies,” which returns in 2019.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.