Nicole Kidman is on the brink of making Oscar history. Nineteen years after winning Best Actress for her turn as famed writer Virginia Woolf in “The Hours,” the actress could win her second Oscar for playing another feminist icon, Lucille Ball, in “Being the Ricardos.” In doing so, she would become the 15th person to win multiple Best Actress Oscars, joining an illustrious group that includes Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep, Bette Davis and Frances McDormand. But she would also become a trailblazer in her own right if she wins for this specific role.
Should Kidman win for playing Ball, she would be the first woman in academy history to secure two Oscars for playing real people. Every instance of women collecting two or more Oscars in the acting categories includes at least one performance as a fictional character. Overall, Kidman would become the fourth actor of any gender to win for multiple biopics, joining Anthony Quinn (1952’s “Viva Zapata!” and 1956’s “Lust for Life”), Jason Robards (1976’s “All the President’s Men and 1977’s “Julia”) and her old “Nine” co-star, Daniel Day-Lewis (1989’s “My Left Foot” and 2012’s “Lincoln”).
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As it stands now, Kidman is one of the frontrunners to win Best Actress, though the latest odds suggest she is in a tight race with Olivia Colman (“The Lost Daughter”). In both cases, they are supported by nominations for their films in other categories, with “Being the Ricardos” earning additional acting bids for Javier Bardem and J.K. Simmons, and “The Lost Daughter” slotting into Best Supporting Actress for Jessie Buckley and Best Adapted Screenplay for Maggie Gyllenhaal. What could give Kidman a slight edge, though, is the academy’s proven track record of loving biopics, in addition to her own narrative as one of the most respected actresses in the industry.
Like with “The Hours,” Kidman faced some initial skepticism when it was announced that she would be playing Ball, but she has now earned more than a dozen nominations from critics and industry voters alike. That she was able to exceed expectations shouldn’t be a surprise to longtime fans, but it is possible that some of those skeptics were indeed swayed by Kidman’s commitment to the part, which she claims is the hardest role she’s ever taken on. With Kidman thriving at this stage of her career, bouncing back and forth between films like “Being the Ricardos,” “Bombshell” and “Destroyer,” and TV series like “Big Little Lies,” “Nine Perfect Strangers” and “The Undoing,” voters may not only want to reward her for her turn as Ball but for her collective efforts in recent years.
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