A nose on any other face ...

Could we all please stop staring? For months now, it seems entertainment writers can't take their eyes off Nicole Kidman's prosthetic sniffer.

Never mind that she's generating Oscar buzz for her fine performance as Virginia Woolf in "The Hours." Since Thanksgiving, there's been a steady stream of articles on how she felt wearing it, how it was designed, how long it took to put on. There are even side-by-side comparisons of Kidman in costume and the real Woolf (who in my opinion had an elegant face.)

I don't get the intrigue. Aren't actors supposed to dress up? Daniel Day-Lewis dons a glass eye in "Gangs of New York." Tom Cruise played a man with a severely deformed face in "Vanilla Sky." Gwyneth Paltrow wore a fat suit in "Shallow Hal." Renée Zellweger went her one better and actually gained 20 pounds for "Bridget Jones's Diary." And why hasn't Andy Serkis gotten as much attention? Filmmakers computer-animated his role as Gollum in "The Two Towers" - rendering him one giant special effect.

Isn't it more noteworthy that Kidman's acting skills may land her an Oscar? A lefty, she learned to scribble with her right hand. And she's quite convincing as the mentally ill writer. After all, Roberto Benigni's honker in "Pinocchio" hasn't won him much clout.

Kidman told the Boston Herald: "Your face is a tool as an actor. You get in trouble when you get attached to a face... Your identity can't be connected to the way you look."

Now that "The Hours" is being released nationwide, the media need to sniff out other stories. Maybe seeing Kidman at the Golden Globes Sunday, sans snout, will help. One thing's for sure, if she wins, it won't be by a nose.

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