Why This May Be Nicole Kidman’s Best Year Yet: How After Three Decades in Hollywood, She’s Only Getting Started

Like a fine wine, Nicole Kidman just gets better with age.

The Australian-bred movie star celebrates her 50th birthday today, a major milestone preceded by many accomplishments, wins and successes spanning nearly thirty years in the spotlight. A star from the get-go, Kidman’s American debut opposite then-future (now ex) husband Tom Cruise in 1990’s Days of Thunder led to box office hit after box office hit in Malice and To Die For. 

She earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an Oscar and Golden Globe in 2003 for her stunning performance in The Hours, but now 14 years later, Nicole is even more beloved and acclaimed than she probably ever thought possible. Not unlike Meryl Streep‘s stamp on show business, Kidman is in a league of her own.

Nicole has HBO’s Big Little Lies to thank in part for what many have described as the starting point for her career renaissance. Struggling to mask her abusive marriage from the judgmental gaze of fellow moms in an affluent Northern California town, Kidman’s performance opposite Alexander Skarsgård garnered critical praise and plenty of Emmy buzz a full half-year before the telecast even airs.

A week after Big Little Lies premiered this past February, Nicole hit the 2017 Oscars red carpet to celebrate a fourth Academy Award nomination—this time for her supporting performance in Lion. Albeit a much different character than Big Little Lies‘ Celeste Wright, Kidman tackled a different side of motherhood in the drama co-starring Dev Patel as her adopted son.

She discussed the impact of raising children on her career, calling it “such a driving force in my life.” Kidman and husband Keith Urban share two daughters together, 8-year-old Sunday Rose and 6-year-old Faith Margaret. She and Cruise adopted Isabella Cruise and Connor Cruiseduring their decade-long marriage.

“The maternal force of who I am is so strong,” she told E! News’ Ryan Seacrest. “It taps into everything that I feel and I’m able to put it into the work, which is what you want as an actress.”

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