"I always loved you"— Nicole Kidman praises Meryl Streep at 49th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala

49th AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Gala Tribute Celebrating Nicole Kidman - Show
49th AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Gala Tribute Celebrating Nicole Kidman (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Nicole Kidman, the 49th recipient of the prestigious AFI Life Achievement Award, praised Meryl Streep during her acceptance speech on the Dolby Theatre stage on Saturday, April 27, 2024.

On Saturday, Kidman was joined by presenters, including her Big Little Lies co-star Reese Witherspoon and past AFI recipient Meryl Streep, who handed Kidman the Life Achievement Award.

After receiving the award, Kidman gushed about Streep saying how she has always loved the actress, whom she perceives to be her "guiding light."

“Can I just say, Meryl Streep? I just loved you. I always loved you. I don’t know what it is. You’re a beacon of excellence and warmth and generosity, and you’ve been my guiding light.”

Nicole Kidman continued it was an honor to receive an award from Streep, adding –

“To see this from you, you have no idea. My husband can attest, my parents can attest, it’s always been you, and no one can touch you.”

Meryl Streep says she was traumatized after watching Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies

Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep at 49th AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Gala Tribute (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep at 49th AFI Lifetime Achievement Award Gala Tribute (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Meryl Streep, who presented Nicole Kidman with the AFI Life Achievement Award on Saturday night, reflected on working opposite the actress in season two of Big Little Lies. While referencing Kidman, Streep said the challenging part of being "incessantly" deemed “the greatest actress" of her generation was encountering a formidable talent, who is great at her craft.

Streep recalled encountering Kidman’s exceptional talent on the set of Big Little Lies and remarked on her drive and discipline as an actor.

“That’s the time when I really came within breathing distance of the formidable gifts Nicole has, and her process and her seismic bank of emotion she’s got locked up inside there and her stamina and her drive to be an artist and her discipline,” Streep shared.
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She revealed Kidman chose to shoot a screaming scene on the first day and did it over and over with the same passion she depicted during the first take. Streep, who described Kidman as Valkyrie, found her co-star's commitment to the role "traumatizing."

“I haven’t recovered from that first day, I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. For me, it was traumatizing because I thought this woman was a Valkyrie. How is she able to sustain that? Never letting up, never letting down.”
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After receiving the award, Nicole Kidman gushed about Meryl Streep and went on to praise the filmmakers who’ve helped to shape her career, including Jane Campion and Gus Van Sant.

The Australian-American actress revealed she was “friends for life” with Jane Campion, the director who cast her in The Portrait of a Lady in 1996. Kidman also expressed her gratitude towards Gus Van Sant for casting her in 1995’s To Die For, where she portrayed a weather reporter with secrets.

Kidman then praised Australian filmmaker Phillip Noyce, who cast her in her breakout role in 1989’s Dead Calm before thanking Stephen Daldry for directing her in the 2002 movie The Hours, for which she won an Oscar for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf.

Kidman also thanked Lars von Trier, Alejandro Amenábar, Jonathan Glazer, Noah Baumbach, Mimi Leder, John Cameron Mitchell, Rob Marshall, Lee Daniels, Jonathan Levine, and Philip Kaufman. She also honored the late filmmakers she’s worked with, including Tony Scott, Joel Schumacher, Sydney Pollack, Nora Ephron, and Anthony Minghella.

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