Nicole Kidman, honored with a gala tribute at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, confessed that what she seeks these days in her storied career is “to be free and open.”The actress, who was feted by the New York Film Festival on Oct. 3, explained exactly what she meant after a screening of “The Paperboy.” “I’m 45 years old, and as you get older, you get frightened in this day and age; there so many opinions out there. I don’t want to be running scared. I’d rather push through the next decades giving all I’ve got,” she said. In researching Kidman’s “Paperboy” character, who has a thing for convicts, director Lee Daniels had the actress meet with “five women who are obsessed with men in prison,” one of whom told her, “You go girl,” which somehow gave Kidman the confidence for the steamy role. “And I just let it out of me.” Oprah Winfrey was offered a maid’s role in the pic. “Because she had just produced my ‘Precious,’ ” Daniels recalled. “She said absolutely not. So the universe took care of me. I can’t imagine Oprah on the bed masturbating” as Macy Gray’s character does in a comical bit with Zac Efron.