"I've started to realize that every film I make now is a very personal film, and that just happened," said Nicole Kidman in a press conference after a screening of her movie "Dogville" at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival. Sitting next to the oft-controversial director Lars von Trier, Kidman found herself at an important period of her career.
Having just won an Academy Award only a few months earlier for her role in "The Hours," the actress had managed to reach a rarified position within the film world. She had emerged from the '90s-era supernova celebrity generated by her marriage to Tom Cruise to become that rare breed of movie star -- one who had both respect from critics and public popularity, and who was able to use her international cachet to tackle difficult roles in films that often found themselves caught somewhere between mainstream Hollywood and art house cinema.
Kidman has made four Cannes appearances during the course of her three-decades-long career. Each time, her visits have marked professional milestones.
Kicking off Wednesday, May 16, and running through May 27, this year's Cannes festival features two films starring Kidman, marking the Australian actress' return to Cannes for the first time in nearly a decade.
Will Lee Daniels's buzz-worthy "The Paperboy" and HBO's out-of-competition "Hemingway & Gellhorn" bring the same kind of critical acclaim that met Kidman during her previous Cannes outings? Below are some of her past brushes with Cannes success.
In 1992, Kidman was still new to the Hollywood scene. After her impressive turn in 1989's "Dead Calm," the Australian import caught the eye of Cruise and the mainstream American film audience with "Days of Thunder" in 1990.
Two years later, the now-married Cruise and Kidman would team up again on screen, this time for Ron Howard's epic "Far and Away." Far from a hit at the U.S. box office (the flick grossed $58 million, with a $60 million budget), the film also received mixed reviews from the mainstream critics.
While it did not bring the A-list couple their own personal "Gone With the Wind," Howard's movie offered Kidman her introduction to Cannes when it bowed at the 1992 festival.
'To Die For' Reviews
1995 marked a turning point in Kidman's career. With the release of Gus Van Sant's "To Die For," she showed a dramatic and comic versatility that her past film roles had not allowed her to show. Garnering mostly positive reviews for her performance, Kidman's work was called "smoothly hilarious" by The New York Times and "inspired" by Roger Ebert, and she made a splash when the film was shown at Cannes.
Earning a little over $21 million at the domestic box office, the film helped Kidman transition to more challenging roles, redefining her public image as a formidable actress ready to take on complex characters.
In 2001, Kidman's career evolution continued with her dual success with supernatural thriller "The Others" and Baz Luhrmann's surreal musical "Moulin Rouge," which opened the Cannes Film Festival that year. The same year her marriage to Cruise ended, Kidman earned some of the best reviews of her life, surprising critics and film fans at Cannes with her song-and-dance performance as tragic courtesan Satine.
The film, which grossed $57 million domestically and nearly $180 million in global ticket receipts, is often considered the catalyst for the revival of the modern film musical, enabling Kidman to take a huge artistic risk that paid off in her first Oscar nomination.
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