About An Actor: Annette Bening

Annette-Bening-Vanity-FairWho? Annette Bening

Type: Independent woman

First Noticeable Role: The Grifters

Breakthrough: The American President

Lucky Bitch or Ass-Off-Worker:  Annette is one of those common well trained actor success stories. When her parents moved from conservative Kansas to hippie California, Annette went from school plays to a theater degree from San Francisco State University to joining the American Conservatory Theater there to doing off off Broadway plays in New York to receiving a Tony award nomination…

From there on she slowly made her way to screen acting, starting with small roles in TV shows and films that went unnoticed. Until she got a part as a con woman in The Grifters, which led to her first Academy Award and being cast in a movie by infamous womanizer and Hollywood icon Warren Beatty. She ended up marrying him and taming him apparently! They’re still married to this day and have 4 kids.

Anyway, Annette’s real commercial breakthrough came when she starred as a loveydovey lobbyist opposite Michael Douglas in The American President. After this romantic turn she soon showed her off her comedy skills with an appropriately over-the-top performance as a new age alcoholic in the outrageous but super funny Mars Attacks! Not too long after Annette got nominated for another Academy Award for her role as obsessive real-estate agent in American Beauty, one of my all-time favorite movies.

Talent: Oh my, she has it in spades. It’s funny, Annette used to annoy me. I found her role in The American President annoying and every time I saw her I was reminded of that movie. When I saw American Beauty that didn’t change because well, I thought it was another actress. Tea Leoni or something. You have to forgive me, I was quite young back then (11! And yes, I watched many movies even back then).

I only started realizing how amazing she is when I saw her in The Kids Are All Right. Her performance was so real, so subtle. So different from what I saw in had seen in other movies. She has since been my favorite actress, my heroine. I admire her versatility. And I love that she hasn’t done any plastic surgery, because if she had she would have never been as easy to relate with in The Kids Are All Right. She looks like woman that age looks, and that is fine. Great, even. Films are supposed to be about real people anyway.

Annette on Acting: “I remember hearing someone say that good acting is more about taking off a mask than putting one on, and in movie acting, certainly that’s true. With the camera so close, you can see right down into your soul, hopefully. So being able to do that in a way is terrifying, and in another way, truly liberating. And I like that about it.”

Fun Fact: Was set to play Catwoman in Batman Returns, host Billy Crystal even announced this during the Oscars in 1991, but the role went to Michelle Pfeiffer when Annette got pregnant.

Up next: The movie Hemingway & Fuentes about famous author Ernest Hemingway and a comedy with Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig.

Favorite scene: The scene in The Kids Are All Right where Annette’s character finds out that SPOILER! her wive cheated on her. I expected a big reaction and other bombastics but look at this scene. This is so amazing, so real. My heart just broke. She deserved that Oscar nomination. I wish she had won instead of Natalie Portman, although she was great too.

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1 Comment

Filed under Other Actors

One response to “About An Actor: Annette Bening

  1. She is most certainly an amazing woman! I love that you do these profiles — it is fun to take a look at the journey of successful actors, especially cool ones like Annette Benning.

    I just looked up some dates: she graduated in 1975, but her break-through role in The Grifters was not until 1990 — even though she was doing off broadway and other films in between, that is 15 years! It just goes to show that sticking it out is what counts.

    I’ve seen many people leave LA after only a year or two, but it is all about longevity.

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