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Nicole Kidman Becomes First Aussie to Receive AFI Life Achievement Award

Nicole Kidman is making history – she’s the first Australian to receive the prestigious Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute (AFI).

What is that exactly? It’s the highest honour in American cinema and according to the AFI, it’s presented each year to “an individual whose career in motion pictures or television has greatly contributed to the enrichment of American culture.”



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Nicole, who landed her first major role at the age of 14 in Bush Christmas, and is now 56, was presented with the award by former recipient Meryl Streep during a ceremony held at the Dolby theatre in Los Angeles. She was joined by her husband, singer Keith Urban, and a number of friends and colleagues including Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts, Sarayu Rao, Joey King, Miles Teller and Mike Myers.

Taking to the stage to accept the honour, Nicole shared her gratitude for her time in the industry and the many opportunities she’s been given to work with talented directors such as Baz Luhrmann and Stanley Kubrick.

“It is a privilege to make films. And glorious to have made films and television with storytellers who allowed me to run wild and be free and play all these unconventional women. Thank you for making me better at my craft and giving me a place, however temporary, in this world.”


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Keith Urban also took to to the stage to share some loving words about Nicole who showed him “what love in action really looks like.” He explained, “four months into our marriage, I’m in rehab for three months. Nic pushed through every negative voice. I’m sure even some of her own, and she chose love. And here we are 18 years later.”

Nicole’s good friends and fellow Aussie stars Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman shared video tributes during the evening too.

Previous winners include Julie Andrews, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, and Denzel Washington. And sure, Nicole Kidman may be the first Australian to win the AFI Life Achievement Award, but we have no doubt more Aussies will follow in her footsteps!

(Feature Image Credit: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for AFI)

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.