Sometimes, if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself. And according to Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon, that’s exactly what they did when they signed on to produce and star in HBO’s Big Little Lies.
At the 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night, the show took home the award for Outstanding Limited Series, and Kidman and Witherspoon stepped up to give an empowering acceptance speech in honor of their women-centered show. After doling out the requisite thank-yous to the network and other powers that be, Witherspoon sent her thanks to Liane Moriarty, “who wrote the bestselling book and created these characters who are so memorable.” Then she cried out, “Oh my gosh, Nicole, help!”
Kidman continued the speech, saying, “Thank you to the people that embraced this, the power of television. It has astounded us that we entered into your living rooms and people talked about it. And as much as the show had entertainment value, it was also about issues. We are so grateful that you told your friends to watch the show,” she said. “It has been an incredible year for women. Can I just say bring women to the front of their own stories, and make them the hero of their own stories.”
The Australia-born actress, who had beat Witherspoon only minutes before to win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or a Movie, finished on a powerful note in which she referenced her close relationship with Witherspoon. “This is a friendship that then created opportunities. It created opportunities out of a frustration, because we weren’t getting offered great roles,” Kidman, 50, said. “So now, more great roles for women, please.”
Witherspoon, 41, has spoken out time and again about the need for more complex roles for women in television and movies. Most recently, she penned an essay for Glamour in which she encouraged women to embrace their ambition and discussed her own efforts to share the stories of diverse women. “Today I have something like 23 projects in the works driven by great female characters of different ages and races. There is a film about an astronaut, a film about the entrepreneur who invented Barbie, and a film about the young, brave American girls who were the first women to serve alongside Special Ops in 2010 in Afghanistan,” she wrote. “All we can do to create change is work hard. That’s my advice: Just do what you do well.” She added, “If you are one of those people who has that little voice in the back of her mind saying, ‘Maybe I could do [fill in the blank],’ don’t tell it to be quiet. Give it a little room to grow, and try to find an environment it can grow in.”
Watch: Nicole Kidman talks about Big Little Lies in her most revealing interview yet: