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Kidman should win another Oscar: co-star, dailytelegraph.news.com.au, November 16th 2004

Nicole Kidman's Birth co-star Danny Huston believes the Aussie actor may miss out on a second Oscar because of Hollywood politics.


Huston, the son of legendary Hollywood director John Huston and half brother to actor Anjelica Huston, plays Kidman's husband in the controversial new film.


"What [Kidman] conveys, I have never seen another actor do anything like that," said Huston, in Australia filming The Proposition with Guy Pearce.


"But there are more politics involved than just the film or performance being good.


"A film has to make a certain amount of money and it has to work within the context of what the Academy is doing so it is hard to tell whether something fits in or not."


Birth, directed by Jonathan Glazer, opened in US cinemas this month but won't open in Australia until February 24.


The confronting film tells the story of Anna (Kidman), a mature woman who calls off her wedding with Joseph (Huston) because she is intrigued by a 10-year-old child (Cameron Bright) who claims to be the reincarnation of her late husband.


Birth screened as part of the Venice Film Festival in September and stirred up controversy with provocative scenes of Kidman and the boy naked in a bathtub together.


In another scene, Kidman's character tenderly kisses the young boy after being convinced that he is her deceased husband.


"The film really is a portrait of grief," Huston said. "It is the desire to see people that are no longer with us grace the earth again and how that desire can manifest itself."


Some journalists booed during a preview screening at Venice, but Huston said controversy could work in the film's favour. "Birth is at times a little close to the line but I think that is what films should do," he said.


"I don't want to dispel any scandal or controversy, it is a healthy thing and it sparks interest."


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


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


The NY Times described Kidman's portrayal of Anna as a "brilliantly nuanced performance".


LA Times reviewer Kenneth Turan, in an article that would have been read by many of the 6,000-plus Academy members, glowed about Kidman's performance and the film.


"Lit up by an incandescent Nicole Kidman performance, this adventurous film, daring and frustrating by turns, uses cinematic skill to raise provocative questions about love, belief, memory and reincarnation," Turan wrote.


"As a demonstration of the power as well as the limitations of exceptional filmmaking, it's as unsettling and unusual as anything you're likely to see."


But Huston said Kidman's strong performance and critical acclaim did not guarantee an Oscar nomination.


"Nicole has got a lot of attention in the past so I don't think they [the Academy] necessarily feel like they owe her one [another Oscar]," Huston said.


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