WCW: Nicole Kidman


Nicole Kidman is a superstar with roots in frock flicks. She’s traditionally beautiful and glamorous in modern clothes but also looks proper in period garb. From romances and musicals to Oscar-bait drama, she’s done it all and has no sign of stopping!



Megan Goddard in Vietnam (1987)

Nicole Kidman, Vietnam (1987)

Kidman did a lot of Aussie TV when she was starting out, but I’m only including this miniseries set in the late 1960s through early 1970s as representative of that work (because finding screencaps, ugh).


Nicola in Flirting (1991)


Drew Preston in Billy Bathgate (1991)

Nicole Kidman, Billy Bathgate (1991)

One of her early Hollywood movies, here set in the 1930s.


Shannon Christie in Far and Away (1992)

1992 Far and Away

One of Kendra’s cheesy faves, and at least the costumes aren’t bad!


Isabel Archer in The Portrait of a Lady (1996)

The Portrait of a Lady (1996) - Isabel - blk asymmetrical

Stunningly beautiful film with drop-dead gorgeous costumes by Janet Patterson!

The Portrait of a Lady (1996) - Isabel - ballgown

But the story is super depressing in a sad-creepy way. Kidman does an admirable job, but the source material is just, whoa!, dark.


Satine in Moulin Rouge! (2001)

Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge! (2001)

A love-it-or-hate-it movie and yeah, it’s very period-esque than truly historical. But the visuals are pretty amazing in their own way.

Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge! (2001)

She broke a rib while rehearsing a dance routine for Moulin Rouge!, which halted production for a while.


Grace in The Others (2001)

Nicole Kidman, The Others (2001)

A horror film set in the 1940s.


Virginia Woolf in The Hours (2002)

Nicole Kidman, The Hours (2002)

Nicole Kidman’s one Oscar-winning role so far. She wore a prosthetic nose to get Woolf’s unique look. Then she kept the nose and wore it in public to avoid paparazzi during her divorce from Tom Cruise!


Ada Monroe in Cold Mountain (2003)

Nicole Kidman, Cold Mountain (2003)

The movie that launched a thousand Simplicity patterns!

Nicole Kidman, Cold Mountain (2003)


Diane Arbus in Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006)

Nicole Kidman, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus (2006)

And then she goes all art-house!


Lady Sarah Ashley in Australia (2008)

Nicole Kidman, Australia (2008)

Lovely costumes in parts of this try-hard sweeping epic.

Nicole Kidman, Australia (2008)


Martha Gellhorn in Hemingway & Gellhorn (2012)

Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn (2012)

Playing the war correspondent who became Ernest Hemingway’s third wife.

Nicole Kidman said of this role:

“I knew nothing about Martha, but I’ve always been drawn to unique women who are willing to take on the world. The exciting thing about this film is that you see her discovering her nature. At the beginning, she’s a lot of talk. She knows that she’s either got to get her hands dirty and become what she pretends to be or she’s a fraud. In the end, Gellhorn out-Hemingways Hemingway.”


Grace in Grace of Monaco (2015)

A pretty, yet sometimes improbable version of the Princess of Monaco’s early life.


Gertrude Bell in Queen of the Desert (2015)

Queen of the Desert (2015)

Biopic of Gertrude Bell, an early 20th-c. Englishwoman who explored in the Middle East.

Queen of the Desert (2015)


Aline Bernstein in Genius (2016)

Nicole Kidman, Genius (2016)

Playing a theater designer in the 1920s whose lover was novelist Thomas Wolfe.


Miss Martha in The Beguiled (2017)

The Beguiled (2017)

As head of a Southern boarding school during the American Civil War (without hoop skirts, alas).

The Beguiled (2017)


Queen Gudrun in The Northman (filming)

While Nicole Kidman has been doing a lot of TV recently, she’s also working on a “Viking revenge saga” that’s set in Iceland during the 10th century. Maybe we’ll make Sarah review that one!



What’s your favorite historical costume movie or TV role played by Nicole Kidman?


About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

10 Responses

  1. florenceandtheai

    I like that she seems to enjoy trying new types of projects for their own sake. Dogville wasn’t commercial fare by anyone’s standards, but she went with it to see if she could do it. I will always think she looks better as a redhead, natural blonde or not.

    • M.E. Lawrence

      I loved the old Kidman look, the red hair and freckles. (I also liked her best in comedy.) She’s a good actress, but I kept imagining Tilda Swinton as Woolf.

  2. mmcquown

    Queen of the Desert, which, alas, is one of the few I’ve seen. She is always good, even in not-so-good vehicles like Far and Away. She’s a pro, through and through.

  3. Lily Lotus Rose

    The Others is a great film and my fave out of the few others I’ve seen on this list. I’m interested in seeing a few others: Flirting; Portrait of a Lady; Queen of the Desert (which I’ve picked up at put down at my local library about 9 times); and Genius.

  4. Du Barry Bécu-Quantigny

    Moulin Rouge is still within my top favourites <3 <3

  5. Hari

    I just can’t with Nicole Kidman! Long time lurker, first time poster to say I don’t understand! It’s like the emperor’s new clothes I just don’t see what others claim to see. I’ve only enjoyed her performance in To Die For because she was perfectly cast as a comedic caricature. I shuddered through Eyes Wide Shut, turned off Moulin Rouge after a valiant effort because pretty costumes but no, and the horror of The Hours was too much, how could they with her! She’s so mannered and frozen in face that I can never suspend disbelief. Tilda Swindon would have been perfection in that role. There I feel better 😊 love your blog very much anyway. Carry on!

    • Hari

      Also damn you auto correct I am of course referring to the goddess Tilda Swinton

  6. SarahV

    I love the sexy red silk dress with the mandarin collar she busts out at the charity ball scene in Australia. It’s divine. I must also, Nicole let herself be filmed looking downright dirty and haggard in some of the scenes when they were ‘rounging it’ in the Outback. I found that admirable.

  7. Jenny by the sea

    I would have sworn that first photo for Queen of the Desert was Rosamund Pike, and have never caught any resemblance between the two before! She does take interesting roles, and confounds expectations.