Movieline Feb/Mar 2002

Letter From the Editors - Movieline Breakthrough of 2001 Awards

After everything Nicole Kidman went through in 2001-a very public divorce from Tom Cruise, tons of strange press and a grueling international tour to promote Moulin Rouge--one might expect the knockout to politely decline an invitation to get all gussied up for a very private affair. Instead, Kidman went out of her way to make time for Movieline's first-ever Breakthrough of the Year Awards, where bout 50 people gathered in a cozy, secluded room at the stately St. Regis Hotel in Century City to watch two new actors and one not-so-new director pick up awards for outstanding achievement in 2001.

(clockwise from top left) Baz Luhrmann and Ewan McGregor; Chris Weitz; Naomi Watts, Nicole Kidman and Roberto Coin representative Julia van Hees; Lions Gate Vice Chairman Michael Burns; Hayden and Tove Christensen flank Watts; Luhrmann; (inset) Mike Medavoy and David Lynch.
Once Kidman jumped up on the stage, it was clear why she wouldn't dream of missing the event-her best friend since her teens, Naomi Watts, was being honored for her brave and stunning performance in David Lynch's characteristically offbeat, critically acclaimed drama Mulholland Drive. Kidman, dressed in creamy, dreamy caramel, didn't hold back when describing her very close relationship with Watts, which included how they met at a modeling call in Australia (neither got the gig) and covered the highs and lows they've seen each other through since (among the latter: losing roles to other actresses, breakups with boyfriends, a divorce). The megastar nearly fought back tears as she revealed her pride at seeing her dear friend finally receive the accolades she has long deserved.

Clearly moved by Kidman's remarks, Watts graciously thanked nearly everyone in the room, including a beaming Lynch, who was joined in the audience by such other Industry forces as Phoenix Pictures chief Mike Medavoy, writer-director Chris Weitz (Antz, American Pie) and CAA agent Rick Nicita. When Watts was finished, she and Kidman were informed that, unlike at most award ceremonies, there was still more giving to do, and they were presented with elegant new bracelets from jeweler Roberto Coin.

Watts and Christensen
Next at the podium was Kidman's Moulin Rouge costar Ewan McGregor, looking punkier than ever in eye makeup, a smooth mohawk, a pinstriped suit and sneakers. The cheeky Scotsman was there to give a Breakthrough of the Year Award to Hayden Christensen, with whom he worked on the upcoming Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (McGregor plays wise Obi-Wan Kenobi to Christensen's rebellious, ambitious Anakin Skywalker-that's Darth Vader as a pup). McGregor praised the performance for which Christensen was being lauded-that of a disaffected suburban teenager at odds with his father in the critical bit Life as a House.

After a quick thank you from the bashful Christensen, who expressed pleasure - and relief - that people are finally starting to, talk about work of his they've actually seen, rather than merely speculating about what he's capable of doing in the still-under-wraps Star Wars, he and McGregor also picked up some high end accessories-new Clerc

In keeping with the Moulin Rouge lovefest, Movieline CEO Anne Volokh presented a Visionary Filmmaker of 2001 Award to Baz Luhrmann. Known for conjuring vivid, otherworldly universes in which two people clash, then fall in love (as he did in Strictly Ballroom and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet), Luhrmann was recognized for the razzle-dazzle he injected into the euphoric, stylistically mesmerizing musical Moulin Rouge. Accepting his prize, the director acknowledged his creative soulmate and longtime collaborator, production designer and costume wizard Catherine Martin, and said he couldn't have worked with better stars than Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. All blushed.

Copyright 2002 Movieline, Inc.

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