Nicole Kidman received her first Best Actress nomination for playing Satine, a courtesan, in the Best Picture nominated musical, Moulin Rouge!. Nicole Kidman's performance in this movie caused a real sensation. She won the Golden Globe, audiences fell in love with her all over the world and she received her Oscar nomination, at last. I guess she almost won (even though she wasn't nominated for the SAG, that might have been a major drawback) and if it hadn't been for Halle's performance, she would have got the Oscar. I think Sissy Spacek wasn't as much of a threat to them in the end.
Moulin Rouge! is a really great movie about love. Yes, it's incredibly colorful and weird and I used to resent it because of that but now I see the whole concept of it. I think it's a brilliantly made piece and in my opinion, the Best Art Direction and Costume Design win are one of the worthiest ones ever given out in the history of the Academy. I mean the movie has really stunning visuals. It's quite exaggerated and yet fascinating. I also believe that Baz Luhrmann should have received a nod for directing. Ewan McGregor gives a good but occasionally annoying performance though that might be the character's fault.
When Nicole Kidman's performance was contending for the Oscar, one of her taglines was "She sings, She dances. She dies." Yes, Satine's role is really one to kill for and Nicole used every opportunity to shine. Nicole was already a succesful actress but her success really peaked in 2001 when she starred in Moulin Rouge! and the chilling horror, The Others. I really like her acting style and I'm in love with her beauty. I believe that she represents everything that a star should be. She's like a modern day Ingrid Bergman, in my opinion. She's emotional, beautiful and has her share of haters.
One thing that I realised about her work as Satine is that it's so grand and spectacular. I wouldn't say that her acting is amazing or fantastic but there's something so huge about this performance. I guess she's really the heart and soul of Moulin Rouge! and that's probably she was intended to be. That was the goal of the director, for sure but I never felt that Nicole was too pushy or obvious. Although it's true that she's at the centre of attention, Nicole is not desperate about that (unlike, say, Renée Zellweger in Chicago).
Satine is the weirder musical version of Greta Garbo's character in Camille. We basically see the same story in Moulin Rouge! in a much more modern way. The signs of Satine's illness are more dramatic here and Nicole handles them properly and she never becomes too over-the-top. Some may argue about that but I feel she was just fine at showing Satine's suffering.
The chemistry between the two leads is crucial in this case because if there had been no fire and music around them, the whole movie would have failed. Thankfulyy, the make up a great couple and I truly believed that they would do everything for each other. Although sometimes their scenes are a bit soappy, it's not really annoying. They are incredibly effective, especially when Satine is dying or when they have to face with the possible dangers of their relationship.
Moreover, Nicole's singing is really wonderful. She has a very firm singing voice and she puts all the necessary emotions into the songs. It's a really memorable scene where she sings "One Day I'll Fly Away).
However, something very striking came to me. Although I was incredibly affected by her performance while I was watching her, all the effect is gone at this point and I realised how depthless this performance and the whole movie really is. On the outside, everything is brilliant and beautiful but inside, there's nothing. It's like making a beautiful wrapping but forgetting to ut the present inside it. That's basically how I feel about Nicole's performance and Moulin Rouge! in general.
Still, this is a great performance. Although it lacks real depth or emotion, the wrapping is still beautiful and wonderful. If I look at that, I am fascinated. However, if I look inside, I can't find much there. She sings, she dances, she dies but forgets to create a truly deep and layered character. Still, very good job.
What do you think?