Nicole Kidman wins best actress award for role in Photograph 51

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2015: Nicole Kidman and James McAvoy scoop top honours as stars come out in force.

But on Sunday night, the actress had her husband Keith Urban to keep her warm as they cosied up at The Evening Standard Theatre Awards, in partnership with The Ivy.Nicole Kidman’s triumphant return to the West End stage for the first time in nearly 20 years has won her the best actress prize at the UK’s longest-running theatre awards. After nearly a decade of marriage, the duo were still inseparable as they gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes on the red carpet of the star-studded London event alongside Salma Hayek and Kate Beckinsale. The starry ceremony, at London’s Old Vic theatre, also saw success for the actors James McAvoy and Imelda Staunton, with special awards going to Vanessa Redgrave and Stephen Sondheim.

Her performance in Anna Ziegler’s play at the Noel Coward theatre, which was described as “a triumph” by Telegraph critic Dominic Cavendish, represented her first stage appearance in London in 17 years. The play shows how the female researcher faced institutional sexism and was written out of history despite her pivotal role in unlocking the code of DNA. In 1998 she briefly appeared naked in David Hare’s The Blue Room, in a performance that was memorably described by Charles Spencer in The Daily Telegraph as “pure theatrical Viagra”. To be standing here today is extraordinary and I am so so glad that I did it. ‘I did it for my father, who was a scientist – he has been orbiting around this whole thing – and also for Rosalind, who was not recognised in her lifetime. The Observer’s Susannah Clapp called it “dramatic amphetamine”, while Michael Billington, in the Guardian, praised her “commanding, intelligent performance”.

Kidman, 48, who has picked up dozens of awards over a career spanning nearly three decades, topped a shortlist of actresses less familiar with the silver screen, including Denise Gough, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Lia Williams. James McAvoy was honoured for his performance in The Ruling Class at Trafalgar Studios (read our four-star review), while Imelda Staunton took home the award for best musical performance for her role in Gypsy at the Savoy Theatre. Ben Brantley, in the New York Times, wrote that Kidman had seldom been better cast. “Among movie stars of her generation, she stands out for the relentless determination she projects; she seduces audiences not by charm but by concentration,” he said. David Moorst’s victory in the emerging talent category (for Violence and Son) rounded out the acting honours – and completed a hat trick of awards for the Royal Court.

The Hours actress exchanged vows with country singer Urban in their native Australia in 2006, 12-months after crossing paths at a G’Day USA showcase event in Los Angeles. Speaking candidly about their romance in the fashion bible, Nicole said: ‘But we really commit to each other and give to the relationship; our priority is to be together.

Gillian Anderson, Shirley Bassey, Ralph Fiennes, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Irons, Lindsay Lohan, Dominic West and Ruth Wilson were among the guests braving the cold London weather to attend the event at The Old Vic, while Rob Brydon took on presenting duties for the second year in a row. I don’t ever take it for granted.’ She added: ‘What I have now – the life I have with Keith and with my whole family – it doesn’t just tumble into your lap; it’s from setting my sights on it and saying: “I so don’t want to be alone, I don’t want to walk this alone,” and I found that.’ You found a new play and you made it all possible and you made it possible with such elegance and ease.” “Theatre is alive, it’s not dead, it continues. McAvoy, who is perhaps also better known for his film roles, including The Last King of Scotland, saw off an all-star shortlist, beating Ralph Fiennes and Simon Russell Beale.

Pixie Lott also performed “Moon River” from a forthcoming production of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which opens at the Haymarket Theatre Royal next year. The newcomer in a musical award went to Gemma Arterton for Made in Dagenham – a poignant prize perhaps, given the show closed after six months, having failed to attract big enough audiences.

It missed out on the best play award, however, with the accolade going to The Motherfucker with the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis, which had its UK premiere at the National Theatre. The Lebedev Award was presented by Dame Judi and Sir Ian to the award-winning music legend Stephen Sondheim who celebrated his 85th birthday this year.

Presented annually since 1955, the role call of previous winners includes Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren and Benedict Cumberbatch.

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