On Big Little Lies, Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman served up stellar performances, resulting in an Emmy nom for each in the Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie category. Since they both can’t win (unfortunately), we thought we’d have a lively debate over who should take home the statue. If we’re being totally honest, we’re just happy all of these talented women are nominated, and we can’t wait for the day in which gender categories are eliminated altogether at awards shows. But we relish the opportunity to dissect performances from two of our favorite actresses—and that brings us back to the question at hand: Are you Team Reese or Team Nicole?
We Want Them Both To Win, But Life Doesn't Work That Way
The Case For Reese
Reese's performance as fiery, complicated, fierce busybody Madeline Martha Mackenzie is some of her best acting to date. She plays the role with such nuance and an exquisite mania that makes her incredibly fun to watch. What could have been a flat, helicopter-mom, need-for-control-in-everything character became a woman who's deeply relatable, and that's courtesy of Reese's portrayal. Madeline is extra, she's a lot to handle, and she's wholly unapologetic—though she does let us know that she is self-aware, as evidenced by her line: "I love my grudges. I tend to them like little pets." (Reese's delivery of this is flawless.) But there's also a vulnerability to her performance, and watching Madeline break down but then plaster on her tough exterior is heartbreaking and beautiful and haunting.
The Case For Nicole
Nicole's performance as Celeste Wright is, simply put, devastating. Even when she isn't speaking, she's stealing the scene with her layered expressions. Celeste's presence isn't loud like Madeline's; it's soft and shattering and just as impactful. Celeste is broken, vulnerable and conflicted—and Nicole is able to play that with heartbreaking accuracy. In fact, most of the moments where Nicole really shines are when she's not speaking a word but rather letting her emotions and conflicts play out on her face and in her body language.