Bening’s Big Night

Last night’s Annette Bening tribute at the Santa Barbara Film Festival (i.e., a bestowing of the American Riviera Award at the Arlington theatre) was a pleasure — good conversation between Bening and SBIFF festival chief Roger Durling, a toney film-clip reel that Durling had personally supervised in editing, a gracious award-presenting speech from Kevin Costner and a pace that moved right along.

An elegant after-party was held at the sprawling Montecito estate of SBIFF board of director honcho Jeff Barbakow and his wife Sharon. Anne Thompson, Dana Harris and I corralled the attention of Warren Beatty, Bening’s legendary husband, for 25 or 30 minutes, covering several bases including 21st Century film distribution and the ridiculous cost of high-end, ultra-high-def home theatre systems.

A Focus Features Oscar strategist is contending (naturally) that Bening, a Best Actress contender for The Kids Are All Right, is surging from her Golden Globe win and an entirely possible if not expected (she says) SAG win, and that Deadline‘s Pete Hammond is now predicting a Bening win and that “she’s due” and all that. Hey, if it happens, fine. I’ll be stunned if Natalie Portman doesn’t take it but whatever.

  • Andrea

    If tomorrow’s SAG brings us yet another Firth/Portman/Bale/Leo sweep, than in a month, the voters may be feeling antsy enough to pull a Jason Reitman on 1 of them and it won’t be Firth or Bale getting the backlash it will be the women. And the juicy picks to go to will be Hailee Steinfeld and Annette Bening.

    That or we are simply in the middle of yet another boring sweep.

  • Blepyrus

    What else did Beatty say?

  • Gabe@ThePlaylist

    Remind me what the fuck she “due” for. “The Grifters”? “Being Julia”? “American Beauty”? Help me out here.

  • lazarus

    She may be a better actress than she’s given credit for, but the bottom line is that she doesn’t have a strong enough body of work in terms of notable films/perfs to be considered overdue. Not like Peter O’Toole is. Or Paul Newman & Al Pacino were before their eventual wins. Or really, even like Kate Winslet was.

    I’ll feel sympathy for her if she loses again, but far better actors and actresses have waited longer or not won at all.

  • joe banks

    you know who else had a big night tonight? Tom Hooper at the DGAs. shit just got real!

  • Andrea


    Tom Hooper just won the DGA.

    Shows y’all for hating on old people.

    Seriously I am literally waiting with baited breath the next podcast between Jeff, Sasha, and Scott.

  • Chase Meridian

    Hey Jeffy, keep telling us how you and your ilk are really the show, and not the Oscars. King’s Speech just handed you and your misanthropic cronies your lunch. You are like the New York Jets of bloggers, all mouth and nothing to back it up with.

  • great scott

    Now that it’s obvious The King’s Speech is winning Best Picture, I say they should go even further and give Bening Best Actress. If they’re going to embarrass themselves then go all out.

  • Telemachos

    I think those KING’S SPEECH tanks just ran over Jeff.

  • JR

    Ummm, Jeff:

    Where is the post entitled “Tom Hooper’s Big Night?”

    Nothing from you on this game changer?

  • dino velvet

    King’s Speech just sat at the Starbucks table as Social Network glared from outside.

  • LexG

    I’m Team Portman 1000%, obviously…

    But for weeks now I’ve been thinking, if I were a betting man, I’d put it all on Bening. Never underestimate The Beatty Factor.

    Warren Beatty is so much the King of Beverly Hills, so much the Honorary Mayor of The Academy, he makes even the industry’s current poster boy George Clooney look like Benny Blanco From the Bronx. Anyone doubting that Beatty’s out pressing the flesh full time at EVERY soiree and awards gathering, telling his TEN BILLION industry buddies and collaborators and former costars “vote for the wife, eh?”

    You really think like Jack Nicholson or Shirley MacLaine are gonna STEP INTO THE BALLOT BOX (Methods of Mayhem TM) and scribble down “Natalie Portman” instead of Mrs. Beatty? Yeah, I realize Natalie Portman isn’t exactly some Real World New Orleans vet making her first movie on a whim, with fifteen years of industry respect and all… But considering Warren Beatty seems to be at that podium giving some rambling incoherent speech every other year even though he hasn’t made a movie in a decade, let’s just say the Oscars have a natural inclination toward all things Beatty.

  • JR

    Bening is only 52 freaking years old, so all this discussion about her deserving this Oscar as a “lifetime achievement” award is way off the mark. When it comes to the top acting awards, versus the supporting Oscars, the Academy gets really stingy about doing that sort of thing (think poor old Peter O’Toole a few years ago).

    Of course Al Pacino was only 52 when he “won” the best actor Oscar for what is widely recognized as one of those times the Academy blinked, but really, how many times has this sort of thing happened in more recent years? Never?

  • Chase Meridian

    LexG, I agree wholeheartedly about Nicholson and MacLaine (and Beatty) voting for Bening! Now AB will only lose 5,997 to 3. (Even Bening is smart enough to know to vote for Portman, who deserves it)

  • Mr. Palmer

    I, for one, hope she wins. NP is young and can win it some other time. BLACK SWAN is the most overpraised film of recent memory. And while I was NO FAN of TKAA, even I can see that AB was the best thing and the only thing worth watching in it.

  • Mr. Palmer

    Um, Chase, I’m no Jets fan (Steelers born and raised) but they DID back it up against the Patriots. And then they lost to the even better team.

  • Mr. Palmer

    @JR: Morgan Freeman winning for the ugly, craptacular M$B. Anyone who has been to a movie in the last 100 years knows that wa a lifetime award. He’d done countless better work in countless movies before that shitfest.

  • dino velvet

    Pacino was on his 6th/7th nomination (he was also up for Glengarry that year) when he won though, so I think he was rather more deserving than Annette Being. Plus, he’s AL FUCKING PACINO.

    If we’re talking actresses who are “due”, what about her Kids co-star Julianne Moore? Four nods so far, and no love.

  • dino velvet

    Annette Being? Probably some kind of Freudian slip there.

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