A week ago Monday, 12-1-03, the AMC cable channel broadcast a "An American Cinametheque Tribute to Nicole Kidman" for the "artistry of her body of work." Kidman has developed into a fine actress in recent years and did a good job in the mid-90s with "To Die For" (although I thought her performance was overrated and that Joaquin Phoenix was the one who really stoood out). But she's only been doing what I'd call notable work since "Moulin Rouge" and somehow in the 2-3 years between "Moulin Rouge" and "The Hours" you'd think she'd become the next Meryl Streep. I wasn't that impressed with her performance in "The Hours"--frankly I thought she won because all those actors in the academy were so amazedthat somebody would go on screen with a big nose on purpose. Seriously, if she were just being feted for her work in the last coupele of years, I'd say fine. But for "the artistry of her body of work"? Do they mean the artistry of "Days of Thunder" and "Dead Calm"? Anyway, I just didn't get why, of all the actresses out there who really do have artistry in a great body of work, why Nicole Kidman? Then it starts to get near the end (I just flipped in now and then to check out what was going on) there was about five minutes devoted to Nicole's upcoming movie, "Cold Mountain" from the bestselling novel and costarring Jude Law (now that guy is great). Comes the dawn. This is a new salvo in the box office PR and also the campaigns for Academy Awards. Usually they wait until after the movie has been released to push for Oscars, but I thought, "This is brilliant. Get people thinking 'Cold Mountain' is Oscar material and that it's lead actors, or at least one of them, is worthy of a Best Actress Oscar BEFORE they see the movie. That gives the studio a big jump on all the competition."
Then, a couple of nights later, on the cable channel TCM, Tom Cruise and the director of his upcoming movie "The Last Samurai" host an evening of three of Akira Kurosawa's best films: "The Seven Samurai," "Yojimbo," and "Throne of Blood." And it's not just Cruise and Zwick giving a short intro; they really go into each movie and, of course, relate each one to "The Last Samurai." "We're trying to stand on the shoulders of giants," says Zwick, who is most noted for directing "Glory" and for developing "Thirtysomething," the latter of which, depending on your POV, was either a great show or the barfiest piece of fodder for "The Simpsons" ever made.
So here's my theory: Since Tom and Nicole were genuinely very good about keeping any messiness in their divorce out of the media and doing an amazing job of keeping the kids away from the ugly stuff that they've decided to declare war atthe box office and on awards shows. Cruise bends over backwards even for him to promote "Last Samurai" and Nicole does a one-hour promo for "Cold Mountain" in the guise of a tribute to her aristry as an actor and her "superb body of work."
So far "The Last Samarai" doesn't look like it's going to be much of a contender for an Oscars, has gotten some real bum reviews, and although it's doing okay at the box office, it's hardly a megahit. We'll have to see with "Cold Mountain." All I can say is that Jude Law has been the best thing about every movie I've seen him in.
So, any comments on my theory? Anybody care? Dull stuff, I know, but something to do until the GPF