Nicole Kidman is one of my all-time favorite actresses, and few things make me happier than indulging in a twisted drama that she’s starring in. As a performer, Kidman is like a chameleon, notorious for transforming her hair, makeup, and body language to achieve whatever a role requires. But if there’s one thing Nicole Kidman characters can’t hide, it’s that unmistakable Australian accent that manages to escape her pursed lips, despite Hollywood’s attempts to conceal it.
Let’s be totally clear: the woman has range. And although many of her characters are beginning to feel startlingly similar to each other, I’m still here for her acting prowess and dedication. So, in honor of her new limited series that just came out, 9 Perfect Strangers, allow me to present…nine perfect Nicole Kidmans.
Celeste in Big Little Lies
First up, we have Celeste Wright from Big Little Lies, a show so addicting that I didn’t leave my couch for days when I binge-watched it for the first time. Without giving spoilers, Kidman plays a retired lawyer and mother of twins who’s going through some pretty significant family drama. While the show takes place on the breezy coast of Monterey, California, the dark storyline coupled with Kidman’s emotional depth makes for an intense watch — further amplified by the scenes where you’re trying to figure out what on earth her accent is actually supposed to sound like.
Grace in The Undoing
There’s something satisfying about getting lost in the lives of beautiful, rich people, then watching it all fall apart — and in The Undoing, we see Kidman’s character experiencing just that. Similar to her role in Big Little Lies, Kidman plays yet another highly-successful married woman who appears to have it all together, until a murder spirals things out of control. Between the lies, privilege, and violence peppered throughout the drama, it’s clear Kidman isn’t afraid to play a role on the darker side. Fun fact: she has apparently played a character named “Grace” five times in her career. NK, we’re onto you.
Masha in 9 Perfect Strangers
Full disclosure: I’m starting this delightfully creepy show tonight, and I’m already too invested. In the new Hulu miniseries, Kidman plays Masha, a mysterious, ethereal healer who runs a health and wellness resort in California. And without even getting into the story, which is based on the 2018 book by Liane Moriarty, let’s just say this role was quite literally made for Kidman. Playing Masha enables Kidman to do exactly what she does best: draw you deeper into a strange, twisted world where you’re not sure if you should root for her character or run for the hills.
Erin in Destroyer
Now that you’re used to seeing Kidman portray an elegant character who’s battling inner demons behind a smile, meet her character Erin Bell in Destroyer. The role is so harrowing that, according to a 2018 interview with The New York Times, Kidman herself wasn’t sure if she could tackle it. While her character looks physically quite different from Kidman’s other famous roles, playing Erin enables her to continue the pattern of laser-focused acting and endless brooding (in the Times interview, she even admits to arriving on set on the first day and not speaking to anyone).
Martha in The Beguiled
In this 2017 film directed by Sofia Coppola, Kidman is thrown into the Civil War era to run a girl’s school in Virginia. The way her accent is supposed to be southern, but sounds Australian — while strangely, also American — is truly impressive. However, I can appreciate the mystery of this film that (yet again) encourages her to exercise quiet intensity and revel in a dark, twisted plot line against a backdrop of a seemingly idyllic life.
Millicent in Paddington
Yes, I’m talking about the one with the bear. I’ll admit, I was only half paying attention while watching Paddington recently when I suddenly saw Kidman pop up on screen wearing a platinum blonde wig. I personally can’t believe she was cast as an evil taxidermist in this family-friendly film about a young bear wandering around the U.K., but her appearance also reminds me of the variety of wigs she has donned in her career. But actually, which Nicole Kidman wig are you? Pick your fighter.
Sue in Lion
Let’s be real, this 2016 movie made me weep, and not just because Kidman finally got to play an Australian. Based on a true story, Lion follows a boy named Saroo in his quest to find his family in India after being separated from them for 25 years. Kidman plays, of course, a mother who’s just trying to be a really good mother even when things are low key falling apart. While Sue Brierley is one of her gentler roles, she stands out in my mind as yet another perfect Nicole Kidman character for the books.
Nancy in Boy Erased
In this heartbreaking 2018 film about a boy who takes part in a conversion therapy program, Kidman stars alongside Russell Crowe, Lucas Hedges, and Troye Sivan. And you guessed it: she plays a mother trying to keep it all together, despite things crumbling around her. It’s almost like Kidman has a thing for dark tales, nuanced characters, and arcs that keep you glued to your screen. The film got positive reviews overall, with Kidman managing to capture both her character’s humanity and her struggle.
Virginia Woolf in The Hours
I’m genuinely frightened at how unrecognizable Kidman is in this 2002 psychological drama. Seriously, peep the prosthetic nose (why do they always do this to her?!). The Hours chronicles a day in the life of three women of different generations whose lives are interconnected by the 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. And while Kidman may be physically unrecognizable in the role, you can probably recognize that mixed British-Australian-American and highly questionable accent anywhere. I will say, she captured the role of Virginia Woolf beautifully, and it earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2003.
The way Kidman manages to play nearly the same character in almost every show with just a slightly different accent is something I will never understand — but again, I’m here for it. I’m also just fascinated by her life in general; for instance, this tour of her rustic farm home in Australia, her well-known divorce from Tom Cruise and now-marriage to Keith Urban (whose name I will forever hear in Kidman’s accent, thanks to this speech at the Golden Globes). There’s also the hilarious fact that Jimmy Fallon blew his chance to date her back in the day. Can you imagine?
All this being said, I’m excited to go make popcorn and watch her new miniseries now — sinister vibes, questionable accent, and all. No doubt in my mind it’ll be perfect.