Written byClaudia Puig
December 20, 2002
Year of the woman in film
Nicole Kidman was convinced she wasn't right for the part of Virginia Woolf in the film adaptation of the Pulitzer-Prize wining novel, The Hours.
"I almost talked myself out of it," she says.
Until she learned Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore would be her co-stars. "From the moment they said these are the other women, I didn't even think twice," says Kidman. "This opportunity rarely comes along. It's unheard of, to be honest."
Movies with three major roles for women are rare indeed. Even more rare: The Hours, which opens Dec. 27, also features such acclaimed actresses as Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Miranda Richardson and Claire Danes in supporting roles.
Kidman, Streep and Moore are the most visible symbols of a year that has provided moviegoers with more meaty major women's roles than any year in recent memory.
"It's been a banner year," says Streep, who has two Oscar-caliber movies out this month. She plays an editor throwing a party for an old friend dying of AIDS in The Hours and has a darkly comic role as real-life writer Susan Orlean in Adaptation. "Absolutely. It's just wonderful. And they're interesting, unconventional sorts of things that don't fit the formula."
Some femme-oriented films feature actresses who reached milestones. Some are possible Oscar candidates, others popular favorites:
* Nia Vardalos, the unknown and unglamorous daughter of immigrants whose movie about her nutty family, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, became the box office phenomenon of the year.
* Jennifer Aniston, the glossily cheerful TV star who proved she could tackle a serious and more substantive role in The Good Girl.
* Diane Lane, the child actress who came of age in a sexy role as the philandering suburban wife in Unfaithful.
* Halle Berry, the first Bond girl to earn her own spinoff movie after Die Another Day.
* Reese Witherspoon, the perky Legally Blonde star whose asking price shot up to