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Critics love Nicole's Birth, ninenews, October 29th 2004

Nicole Kidman has emerged a strong chance of gaining her third Oscar nomination in four years after US critics praised her performance in the controversial new film Birth.

Three of America's most influential newspapers - The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and USA Today - have all given the Australian actress stunning reviews.

The NY Times described Kidman's portrayal of a woman dealing with her husband's death as a "brilliantly nuanced performance".

Birth, directed by Jonathan Glazer, opens in US cinemas this week.

The film had a rocky start in its push toward February's Academy Awards ceremony with reports of boos from audience members when it screened at the Venice Film Festival last month.

There were also negative headlines when it was revealed Kidman's character has a bath with an 11-year-old boy who claims to be the reincarnation of her husband.

Kidman, promoting the film in the US this week, defended the bath scene.

"When you see the film this film is not about sex," Kidman told America's top rating morning TV show, Today.

"It's about two souls, or whatever you want to call them. It's about love."

When Today host Katie Couric asked the actress about the Venice boos, Kidman questioned whether they occurred.

"People say this. It was not booed. That's the weird thing, not that I was aware of," Kidman said

"I was in a premiere and there was cheering."

The influential US movie critics, crucial for giving a film an Oscar push, also cheered the performances of Kidman, her child co-star Cameron Bright and Glazer's direction.

"Its two lead performances, one by a movie star, the other by an unknown little boy, are riveting and sometimes electric," USA Today critic Claudia Puig wrote.

"... Kidman is excellent; her eyes and face have never been more expressive."

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