So we’re sitting around LaineyGossip HQ last night, trying to arrange all the articles and picking out the perfect pairings – people who it makes sense to talk about together – all while navigating dogs and narrowly avoiding ‘that person is MINE’ skirmishes. Then someone (Kathleen?) says, “Oh, Duana, you could pair Charlize with your Nicole Kidman article.”

This immediately feels right and I say as much – but then I wonder if it’s just because they’re kind of the same vintage, or whether there’s something I’ve missed. So I clarify, ‘But what’s the link between them, that you’re thinking of?’

A beat. Then, at almost the same time, Lainey and Kathleen snicker. “Tall?”

I mean look, I’m proud to take up the mantle of women carelessly grouped together just because of their height. As if all experiences are the same up above 5’7”?!? But in truth, Charlize and Nicole do have more in common than just their probably size-10 feet: 

Both ‘came of age’, acting-wise, around the same time, and started getting juicy roles that broke out of rom-com territory at the same time. In fact, Nicole won the Oscar for The Hours in 2003, Charlize for Monster in 2004. Neck and neck. They were part of a ‘class’ of talented actresses that included Julia and Julianne Moore and Kate Winslet and Sandra Bullock and, at that time, Renee Zellweger, who kind of passed all the best roles back and forth between them – and since then they’ve both taken projects that suit them, regardless of their mass market appeal, which makes them both very likeable. 

Maybe that’s why they share another trait – somehow, they’ve each found a way to be kind of chill about the whole awards/red carpet rigmarole. Dare I say they even seem to enjoy it? I mean that’s been way more recent in Charlize than Nicole – she used to be almost prickly at these things – but it’s such a relief to see either of them, because they can give a red carpet quote, wear the hell out of an ‘old Hollywood Glamour’ dress (that’s the tall thing coming into play), intro an award, alone or paired with anyone, without giving you anxiety about yet another segment going off the rails, and they manage to seem like they’re genuinely laughing or at least enjoying the company of their peers. 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I know these awards are the biggest deal in an actor’s life, but they’re also broadcast to the rest of us as a party. If I’m watching you go to a party, I want to believe you’re having a great time! Why is this not the most understood facet of being a celebrity? This is when you have to make us believe this is the greatest job in the whole world – and these women show us how it’s done.

Then again, it seems like it’s been a while since either of them was in a project that had a real chance in a real race they cared deeply about. Obviously Big Little Lies was important to Kidman, but her performance was all but anointed long before awards season. Which of them is going to have the next big-deal nomination, and how chill will they be then, huh? 

Regardless of the project, advantage goes to Nicole, because Keith Urban’s beaming happiness at being with her in every public forum lifts me up, so it’s gotta do the same for her.  

As for that ‘Old Hollywood Glamour’ thing, Nicole generally takes fashion chances at the Globes, and while I like her cranberry Michael Kors column, I feel like she’s worn it a bunch of times before. Charlize, meanwhile, manages to make being in Dior not feel like same-as-it-ever was – the slightly loose fit makes it a bit more interesting and has stirred up my usual awards-show-season longing for a bob, which I absolutely cannot have. Sadly for Charlize, but thankfully for me, she’s not nominated for a SAG award in two weeks – because if she were, I might need an intervention.