By Mary Sollosi
December 13, 2017 at 05:51 PM EST
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images; Ben Rothstein/Focus Features; Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

This has been a difficult year for many of us. The one thing we could rely on in these twelve troubled months, however, was the dependable perfection of Nicole Kidman and everything she did. Ever since January, the Aussie queen of the big screen has been serving us meaty performances, GIF-able moments, brilliant quips, and, as always, absolutely vital looks. She didn’t waste any time before launching into what will surely be remembered as the Year of Nicole Kidman, kicking off 2017 with…

1. Avian glam

Nicole Kidman began the year gracing us with her presence at all the major awards shows, at most of which she was nominated for her supporting performance in Lion. She was not favored to take home many actual awards, but it’s never smart to bet against Nicole Kidman’s red carpet game, which has been the absolute best in the biz for two entire decades. Here she is at the SAG Awards in January, which she chose to attend as a glistening parrot queen.

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2. Round of applause

Nicole Kidman received her fourth Oscar nomination, for Lion, in 2017. She wore Armani Privé to the ceremony and looked beautiful, obviously. But her most crucial contribution of the night came whenever the camera caught her applauding, which she did with a strange stiff-fingered seal-clap (later revealed to be due to her efforts to protect her rings). The act was immediately judged by internet commentators as questionable, but has since been rightly reappraised as an iconic moment in awards show audience cutaways.

3. Liar, liar

Nicole Kidman began 2017 with an awards-season run, which would make it a major year for anyone. But did she stop there? No, she most certainly did not. February brought the premiere of Big Little Lies, the HBO series that assembled the greatest girl squad in recent TV history and launched a million assorted Audrey Hepburn Halloween costumes. As Celeste Wright, a devoted mother, brilliant lawyer, and secret victim of domestic abuse, Kidman was a standout from the very first episode.

4. Aquamom

In March, it was confirmed that Oscar winner and noted Australian Nicole Kidman would play Queen Atlanna, the mother of Aquaman (Jason Momoa), in Aquaman (2018). The creatures of the Great Barrier Reef rejoiced.

5. Shady cuisine

In May, Giada de Laurentiis called Nicole Kidman “the woman who can’t cook,” in the third person, while standing mere inches away from her, during what ought to have been a perfectly innocuous arancini segment on Ellen. Poised and breezy as ever, Nicole Kidman smiled politely through all of Giada’s weird little digs, and then expertly demonstrated how to properly roast a Food Network star.

6. Yes she Cannes

Fed up with American celebrity chefs, Nicole Kidman jetted off to La Croisette in late May to hobnob with all those auteurs at Cannes. And did she ever! On hand to unveil four new projects (How to Talk to Girls at Parties, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Top of the Lake: China Girl, and The Beguiled) with four acclaimed international filmmakers (John Cameron Mitchell, Yorgos Lanthimos, Jane Campion, and Sofia Coppola, respectively), she was the undisputed reine de Cannes, where she was also awarded a special jury prize in honor of the French fest’s 70th anniversary. Finally, as if all that weren’t enough, her Riviera red carpet style was consistently flawless, but what else is new.

Samir Hussein/WireImage; Tony Barson/FilmMagic; Anthony Harvey/FilmMagic

7. Girl-powered vow

In a superb display of wokeness, Nicole Kidman pledged during one of her myriad Cannes press junkets to make a film with a female director every 18 months. “I think it’s necessary,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Because that’s the only way the statistics are going to change, when other women start to go, ‘No, I’m actually going to choose only a woman now.’” (Two of her four projects at Cannes, it is worth noting, were by female directors, and a few months later, she signed on to Karyn Kusama’s upcoming crime thriller.)

8. Nicole turns 50

On June 20, Nicole Kidman, a Gemini, turned 50.

9. Very beguiling

Just a month after its Cannes premiere, The Beguiled hit theaters in June. Among other essential moments, Sofia Coppola’s film includes a dinner scene in which Nicole Kidman delivers the most impeccable wicked-queen smile we have possibly ever seen. Better yet, a few days after the film’s release, one of its young stars, Emma Howard, shared a video of the cast taking part in the #Ham4All video challenge, for which celebrities sang songs from Hamilton. Howard’s clip included a brief appearance by Nicole Kidman, resulting in this extraordinary moment.

10. Style star

In September, Nicole Kidman was named PEOPLE’s best-dressed star of 2017. As if it could have been anyone else.

Steve Granitz/WireImage; Don Arnold/WireImage; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

11. Nicole on top

Following its Cannes debut, Top of the Lake: China Girl premiered in the U.S. in September. It was a triumph for female-driven stories, for Australian filmmaking, and obviously for Nicole Kidman (and her wonderful wig).

12. Big Little Emmys

When Nicole Kidman won an Emmy in September for her compelling turn as Celeste in Big Little Lies, she thanked her husband and children, but her speech was truly dedicated to women like Celeste. “We’ve shone a light on domestic abuse,” she said as she accepted her award, looking regal in a red dress with a sparkling tie at the neck. “It is a complicated, insidious disease. It exists far more than we allow ourselves to know. It is filled with shame and secrecy. And by you acknowledging me with this award, it shines a light on it even more. So thank you, thank you, thank you. I bow down to you.” Oh, no, Nicole Kidman, we bow down to you.

 

13. Glamour gets it

Glamour identified 2017 as the Year of Nicole Kidman early, naming her one of the magazine’s Women of the Year at the end of October. She proved that she deserved the title in her interview for the feature, during which she spoke more about empowering women, explaining about her female-director promise that, “to be an advocate, you have to actually put things into action,” and noting of her past roles, “I choose films, I’ve realized, about women who somehow find their way through.”

14. Demonic-ole

At the close of 2017, Nicole Kidman was included in The New York Times Magazine’s 10 best performers list. This year, the annual segment’s photoshoot and series of short films were inspired by the horror genre, considering the fact that 2017 itself seemed to be. As is right and natural, Nicole Kidman, playing “The Possessed” for the feature, made the cover with this instantly classic image.

15. Backing up Keith

Lest we forget, Nicole Kidman sang and danced and died of consumption a mere 16 years ago in Moulin Rouge!, and still enjoys the occasional front-seat singing sesh with her husband Keith Urban. But that’s not all! In November of 2017, she casually provided backing vocals on Urban’s new track “Female,” just as a gentle reminder that there is truly nothing she can’t do. No photographs or video footage of the recording session have been provided, but we can only assume she was wearing something elegant but tastefully whimsical.

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