Last night, Nicole Kidman won the Best Female Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series award for her performance in Big Little Lies and, during her emotional acceptance speech, she touched on how things have changed for actresses over the years and what she hopes to see in the future.
The 50-year-old mother of four tearfully addressed several other nominated actresses she admires including Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange and Meryl Streep saying, “I want to thank you all for your trailblazing performances you have given over your career and how wonderful it is that our careers today can go beyond 40 years old. Because 20 years ago, we were pretty washed up by this stage in our lives, so that’s not the case now. We have proven and these actresses and so many more are proving that we are potent and powerful and viable.”
She’s definitely got a point. Not too long ago, an actress in her 30s could only hope to get “mature” parts reserved for supporting roles. Now, we’re seeing women in their 40s and 50s easily commanding the screen and it’s clear that the industry (and expectations of the audience) is changing.
“I just beg that the industry stays behind us because our stories are finally being told,” Kidman continued. “It’s only the beginning and I’m so proud to be a part of a community that is instigating this change, but I implore the writers, directors, studios and financiers to put passion and money behind our stories. We’ve proven that we can continue to do this but only with the support of the industry and that money and passion.”
Kidman definitely raises an important issue. Stories focusing around middle-aged women definitely weren’t seen as lucrative but, as her close friend Reese Witherspoon has demonstrated, that has begun to shift. Despite her obvious star power, Witherspoon found it difficult to get backing for movies intended portraying strong women in lead roles, she she started her own company – Pacific Standard.
To-date she’s been very successful having produced acclaimed films such as Wild and Gone Girl, as well as the award-winning television show, Big Little Lies. As she and actresses such as Kidman continue to trailblaze, we can expect the landscape to look very difficult (and a lot more welcoming) for the next generation.