Oh, Annette Bening. I have loved her since I saw her slapping the hell out of herself because she couldn't sell a house in American Beauty. She turns 55 today, and what a stunner she still is!
Annette has yet to win an Oscar. I say "has yet" because I am keeping the positive energy flowing, and I want her to win one. She has been nominated 4 times. Two of those four times she was stopped by Hilary Swank. Damn, you Hilary!!! DAMN YOU!!! If she would have won for Beauty, it would have became only the fourth film to sweep the Oscars (the other three being It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Silence of the Lambs).
My favorite performance of hers might be as Julia Lambert in Being Julia. The movie itself isn't that great (even though my dad named it his favorite film in 2004, thank you very much), but she is just so grand and over-the-top as an actress in 1930's London who begins having an affair with a young admirer. The film costarts Jeremy Irons,
the crappy Dumbledore Michael Gambon, and Lucy Punch. Her turn as a betrayed lesbian in The Kids Are All Right was her most recent Oscar nominated role.
My favorite thing about Bening is how she utilizes her voice in certain roles. She can be quite seductive and light or she can lower her register to really command your attention. I just love it!
Bening played Merteuil in Valmont, the other adaptation of Les liaisons Dangereuses. I know, I know, Glenn Close should have won the Oscar for playing the same role in Dangerous Liaisons, but Valmont is underappreciated.
I remember when it was announced they were adapting Augusten Burroughs's Running with Scissors. Julianne Moore was cast as the mother who gives her son away, and I thought this was Julianne's chance to finally win an Oscar. Then tragedy struck. Julianne had to drop out. I was distraught. I didn't eat for days. THEN Annette Bening signed on and I gathered my composure again. The movie is kind of ehhh, but Bening is a standout.
The same year that Bening was nominated for The Kids Are All Right, she starred in the ensemble drama Mother and Child. It has some good acting (Kerry Washington Kerry Washington Kerry Washington) led by Bening as a woman haunted by the memory of giving her own child up for adoption. Seriously, find it and watch it.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNETTE!!!