The Cannes Film Festival begins on Wednesday. It’s the 70th anniversary. And while we still have 48 hours to go before the opening gala, Peter Bradshaw, the film critic for The Guardian, predicted today, in a hilariously frothy article, that the Queen of Cannes 2017 will be Nicole Kidman, with four projects screening on the Croisette: Top Of The Lake, How To Talk To Girls At Parties, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, and The Beguiled, all works of auteur directors Jane Campion, John Cameron Mitchell, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Sofia Coppola.
The last time Nicole was in Cannes it was for Grace Of Monaco, in 2014, which, as you know, went nowhere. And that might explain why, though Peter Bradshaw doesn’t use the word “comeback”, it’s implied that this is what it is. I don’t know that it’s a comeback, exactly. It’s not like Nicole hasn’t worked. If you look at her work production over the last few years, every year, really, she almost always has multiple releases. Lately though, it’s true, it does feel like there’s been a resurgence, starting with Lion last fall and then, of course, blowing wide open with Big Little Lies. Back in April, Anne Helen Petersen asked How Many Times Does Nicole Kidman Have To Prove Herself? in a piece for Buzzfeed just before the BLL series (or season one, if they really do decide to extend the story) finale. Instead of “resurgence” though, AHP describes it as a “revelation”, positing that for some reason, Oscar-winning Nicole Kidman is repeatedly a “revelation”, because she has to keep reminding us that she is that good when, arguably, we don’t ask the same of, say, someone like Johnny Depp. Or at least we didn’t, until recently.
When Nicole is grooving though, when she’s enjoying a career upswing (and an artist who’s been around as long as she has will have several cycles of high and low), she has a tell. In his article for The Guardian today, Peter Bradshaw remembers Nicole in Cannes in 2003, with Lars Von Trier, promoting Dogville. It was two years after she and Tom Cruise ended. She’d just won the Oscar for The Hours. During the press conference, “(w)hen the director went off on a rant about how much he despised America, and wanted a Free America campaign to compare to the Free Iraq one, Kidman lit up a cigarette (contravening the no-smoking rule) and pantomimed her boredom, completely upstaging him”.
Have you ever seen video of this? The moment happens around the 3 minute mark but, if you can, watch the whole thing because her body language is hilarious. She’s a teenager here, she’s Malia and Sasha Obama at the turkey pardon, she doesn’t bother trying to conceal the fact that this is boring:
The tell is the impertinence. The tell also showed up last week on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, during that awkward cooking segment with Ellen and Giada De Laurentiis which made headlines late last week. Some people thought it was Giada who was being an asshole, several times insulting Nicole’s inexperience in the kitchen. I was most annoyed by Ellen who seemed intent on sabotaging the whole segment from the beginning. And others blamed Nicole for being rude and spitting out bread. No matter the side you take though, the point here is that this is the same irreverent Nicole Kidman who interrupted her director’s monologue and lit up a cigarette in Cannes in 2003. She is feeling herself right now. And we get to see what that looks like in excess, in Euro excess, when she walks that outrageous red carpet, at the glamour-tackiest party of the year.
Attached – Nicole’s given us a lot of memorable Cannes looks over the years. But one of my personal standouts has to be the halter drop-waist, bloused Pucci she wore that same year.
Yours in gossip,