Nicole Kidman's 'Destroyer' Tour de Force Could Return Her to Oscar Contention

Karyn Kusama's Destroyer, a detective story starring Nicole Kidman, had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on Friday and then screened again here Saturday. The dark drama divided critics and audiences in some respects, but attracted nearly universal applause for Kidman's tour de force turn, which could return the 2003 Oscar winner to the best actress race.

In the film, which Annapurna is scheduled to release Christmas Day, Kidman plays a world-weary, mostly solitary L.A.-area private eye whose sorry present state (she looks, frankly, almost unrecognizably awful) is explained through flashbacks to her life many years earlier when she went undercover to infiltrate a gang for the FBI  (in those scenes, she looks like one expects Kidman to look). In other words, Kidman does just the sort of de-glamorization to which Academy members have long responded, while commanding the screen for nearly every one of the film's 123 minutes.