The star, nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Lion, was seen on camera innocently applauding Justin Timberlake’s opening performance – but within seconds, gifs of her clapping were going viral on social media.
Standing between her husband, Keith Urban, and fellow actress, Octavia Spencer, Kidman appeared to have forgotten how to clap like an actual human, and was captured banging the base of her palms together while her fingers splayed out, in a manner – it has to be said – that was not dissimilar to a seal.
You can see the moment for yourself below:
After weeks of speculation about Kidman and the clapping on social media (“she’s got alien mitts!” “she’s the Grinch!”), the 49-year-old has finally explained what actually happened.
The actress was chatting to Australian radio station Kiss 105's Kyle and Jackie O when one of the DJs, Kyle Sandilands, suggested the seal clap might have been born out of her desire not to damage the (extremely pricey) rings she was wearing on her fingers.
"Yes, YES! I'm so glad you clarified that because it was really awkward!” Kidman responded.
“I was like, 'Gosh, I want to clap, I don't want to NOT be clapping,' which would be worse, right? 'Why isn't Nicole clapping?' So therefore I'm clapping but it was really difficult because I had a huge ring on that was not my own, but it was absolutely gorgeous, and I was terrified of damaging it...”
“It's like, is there not more important things to be focused on than the 'seal clap'?” she added.
We hear you, Kidman.