Nicole Kidman Honored with AFI Life Achievement Award

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Hollywood legends gathered Saturday night to celebrate Nicole Kidman as she received the prestigious AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed by the American Film Institute.

The annual tribute was held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, where some of Kidman’s closest friends and colleagues, including Oscar winners Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, Reese Witherspoon and Oscar nominee Naomi Watts, paid tribute to her illustrious career.

Kidman, wearing a figure-hugging dress with gold sequins, entered the theater Saturday night and received a standing ovation as a recording of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” played overhead.

The program kicked off with a video featuring Freeman in a parody of Kidman’s recent ad campaign for AMC Theaters to promote the return to movie theaters in the wake of the pandemic. “Somehow she makes heartbreak feel good in a place like this,” Freeman said in the video.

Freeman then took the stage in the Dolby to convey his congratulations to Kidman as a fellow AFI Life Achievement recipient, who was honored in 2011. He noted that Kidman’s 2001 musical “Moulin Rouge” is one of his favorite films. He closed by singing a line from Elton John’s ballad “Your Song”: “How wonderful life is while you’re in the world,” Freeman sang to Kidman.

Watts shared her memories of the woman she considers “the sister I never had.” The fellow Australians met as 15-year-old aspiring actors in Sydney. “She’s tall, elegant and incredibly smart, with the most infectious laugh you’ve ever heard,” Watts said. “Nic has always been the most generous person,” noting that Kidman provided her with years of support during times of struggle in her career. “She has the heart of a lioness,” Watts added.

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AFI President Bob Gazzale, who also served as writer and executive producer of the gala, praised Kidman at a Variety interview, describing her as the embodiment of “the glamor and romance of Hollywood’s past.”

Kidman’s notable performances were highlighted at the event, with roles from feisty showgirl Satine in Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Moulin Rouge’ to her transformative portrayal of author Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s ‘The Hours’. For the latter role she received her Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002.

More to come…

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