As reported, Moore will go lead in ‘Kids’

Posted by · 1:29 pm · September 20th, 2010

Due respect to Dave Karger (better at and a longer player in this game than me, I assure you), but the line on Julianne Moore’s Oscar campaign for “The Kids Are All Right” has been lead alongside co-star Annette Bening since day one (as reported repeatedly in this space).  Plenty of people have raised consistent doubts over this throughout the summer, so if my word hasn’t been good enough, maybe his will be.

In any case, I’m long on the record as thinking Moore is the more deserving actress of the two.  I believed her work much more and it just settled into a more authentic groove, but at the end of the day, we’re probably still looking at a nomination for Bening alone.  Maybe Focus can turn a “Thelma & Louise” corner, but I’m doubtful, given how competitive the field is.

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42 responses so far

  • 1 9-20-2010 at 1:41 pm

    Sean C. said...

    I didn’t think the Academy would go for that; it seemed to me that Moore had more screentime than Bening, and certainly her character was the more active of the two in terms of driving the plot. Bening would really have the easier case to go for Supporting Actress.

  • 2 9-20-2010 at 1:43 pm

    Michael W. said...

    Damn. I’m not too pleased about that. I had hoped we could be looking at an Oscar for both of them, and these days it seems very difficult to get two lead nominations in the same category from the same film (has it even happened since Thelma & Louise?). And given how crowded lead actress looks at this point, I don’t like this at all. I would rather have a little category fraud!!!

  • 3 9-20-2010 at 2:02 pm

    Lucas said...

    Mixed reaction: I too thought Moore was better but if her upgrade (wrong word if this was always the plan) means her missing out on any nomination, I’d rather see her relegted to supporting.

  • 4 9-20-2010 at 2:04 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Hurray for honesty. Good on Focus.

    And yes, Moore is better than Bening in the film. Don’t understand why she isn’t picking up more traction — her confession speech near the end is marvellously baity.

  • 5 9-20-2010 at 2:10 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    I agree that Moore was better, but it’s again too much about the Oscar game and not the actual weight of the character in the film. Too bad.

  • 6 9-20-2010 at 2:18 pm

    Jeremy said...

    I think that Bening should go as supporting, it would definitely give her an Oscar! At leading, there is Portman. I’m happy with decision on Moore as leading, she has way more screen time than Bening. And, let’s not forget that the Bening’s Mother and Child performance is not considered one of the strongest ones of the leading contenders, but it is on the list!

  • 7 9-20-2010 at 2:48 pm

    Silencio said...


  • 8 9-20-2010 at 3:02 pm

    Joe said...

    Frankly, I’m not sure either performance is all that deserving. But in a “Kate-Winslet-for-The-Reader” kind of way, I’ll root for Julianne Moore.

    Did I miss the large chunks of the movie where the focus was on Bening’s character? Yeah, maybe a juicy scene here or there near the end (especially the dinner table), but I’m surprised that Moore is the one who was thought of as supporting. If anything, it’s Bening who disappears for large chunks of the second half. And much like Kris’ case that Lesley Manville drives “Another Year”, wouldn’t that apply to Moore’s character as well? It’s really her actions that influence the film.

  • 9 9-20-2010 at 3:11 pm

    matsunaga said...

    Both were really good performances worthy of an Oscar nomination….

    I just hope none will be taken for granted or compromised….,

  • 10 9-20-2010 at 3:15 pm

    andrea said...

    I still think Bening should go supporting for Mother and Child. With supporting actress lacking a Monique type fron trunner it could be a logical place to reward her if she falls behind Portman in the lead race for Kids. Better to have something to fall back on.

    And I’m sorry Moore was fine in Kids, but Bening was clearly better and more believable as a dyke.

  • 11 9-20-2010 at 3:17 pm

    James said...

    I thought the smarter move would be for her to campaign in supporting. Haven’t there been several occassions where a somewhat co-leading performance was nominated in a supporting category?

  • 12 9-20-2010 at 3:21 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    “Bening was clearly better and more believable as a dyke.”

    Delightful. There’s one for the FYC ads.

  • 13 9-20-2010 at 3:30 pm

    andrea said...

    James- Some people believe in being noble than smart.

    I’d take smart all the time.

    Moore is an after thought in actress. In supporting she could have actually been the front runner.

    But hey, I guess she is honest right? Too bad she will be Oscar less forever.

  • 14 9-20-2010 at 3:38 pm

    Jim T said...

    I want Moore to get an Oscar some day but I prefer Bening to win this year cause I think she was much better though I liked both of them.

    Assuming I have to choose between these two.

  • 15 9-20-2010 at 3:46 pm

    matsunaga said...

    I think it will fall on who made most believable performance between the two.. though you’ll never know maybe both of them?

  • 16 9-20-2010 at 3:55 pm

    Amanda Datmatters said...

    “I still think Bening should go supporting for Mother and Child. With supporting actress lacking a Monique type fron trunner it could be a logical place to reward her if she falls behind Portman in the lead race for Kids. ”

    Logical my a*. Bening had more screen time in Mother and Child than in TKAAR.

  • 17 9-20-2010 at 5:49 pm

    JR said...

    The Kids Are Alright contained Bening’s best performance yet on film. There was absolutely no “actress” about her. Moore, though, definitely had the bigger, more pivotal roles.

    All that said, both ladies – fabulous as they are – should be damn grateful that Temple Grandin was not released as a feature. Claire Danes’ performance is extraordinary.

  • 18 9-20-2010 at 6:03 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    I know many still would like to believe winning an Oscar is based on the quality of the performance but Annette Bening has lost twice to now Academy pariah Hilary Swank is seen as owed. BTW not that this should be relevant at all but it’s known information that Annette’s daughter with Warren Beatty wants to become a man. Not judging but I suspect there will be those that feel sorry for them and want to award her accordingly.

  • 19 9-20-2010 at 6:09 pm

    Jake G. said...

    I think Benning will get the nomination and Moore wont get one at all!:)

  • 20 9-20-2010 at 6:26 pm

    Vince in WeHo said...

    I wish people wouldn’t dog Bening to defend Moore. It’s a fact that Moore has more (haha) screen-time. She has a few more scenes, but it doesn’t create an obvious difference. Do I believe Moore should be regulated to supporting? No. I think they are both leads, equally, as far as logistics are concerned. But, then, the daughter has just as much screen-time, I imagine, as each of them, if we want to go there.

    However, I found Bening’s performance nuanced and beautiful. She was a revelation. For example, her line-reading of how she prefers her steaks prepared was amazing. And, yes, Moore delivered a wonderful monologue towards the end after she shuts of the T.V. and speaks to everyone on the couch. But, Bening floored me.

    True, she was the more likable character. But, I just dug what she did. It was a career-best. And I’ve been a fan of hers since she owned that scene with Meryl Streep in Postcards From the Edge.

    And, as /3rtfu11 pointed out (and I’ve already pointed out), she has a compelling personal story right now. And, not that they should be relevant to the performance in question, they do wonders for an Oscar campaign.

  • 21 9-20-2010 at 6:30 pm

    Vince in WeHo said...

    P.S. This category hasn’t seen co-leads since “Thelma & Louise,” “Terms of Endearment” and “The Turning Point,” because “Chicago” and “The Hours” cheated in 2002.

    Also, if people want to argue that Moore is more leading than Bening, should Anthony Hopkins have been campaigned as supporting in “The Silence of the Lambs”? I would argue no. Screen-time is irrelevant. It’s not only about that, but how the character plays into the film when they’re not on screen.

  • 22 9-20-2010 at 6:53 pm

    mikhael said...

    Moore is way more overdue than Bening and her work in the movie is better IMO. beside she was snubbed last year for A Single Man, now it’s just cruel to ignore her again for an another excellent showcase of her talent.

  • 23 9-20-2010 at 7:21 pm

    Sean D said...

    I do feel that Annette Bening is better in the film, but that Julianne Moore in general is more deserving of an Oscar. If I always had my way with the Oscars, I still think Bening probably wouldn’t have one. She’s an excellent actress with a wonderful filmography, but, you know, she’s rarely been the ‘best’ out of a year in film. And I don’t really think that’s that shocking of a stance.

    Julianne Moore on the other hand? I mean, I would have given her two Oscars: One for Altman’s Short Cuts, and one for Anderson’s Boogie Nights. And she’s thrilling in Far From Heaven, The Hours, and so many other films. Wonderful actress.

  • 24 9-20-2010 at 7:30 pm

    Sean C. said...

    “Screen-time is irrelevant. It’s not only about that, but how the character plays into the film when they’re not on screen.”

    It’s relevant; it’s not the sole determinant, either. As I said in my original post, not only does Moore have more screentime, but her character is the one who drives the plot. She’s the one feeling dissatisfied, she’s the one that cheats, she’s the one that has to make it up to everyone; Bening reacts to her. I could see them as co-leads or as lead/supporting, but if the latter, Bening to me is clearly the supporting one.

    “because “Chicago” and “The Hours” cheated in 2002. ”

    “Chicago” is pretty clearly about Roxie (which the film amplifies by making the musical numbers all her fantasies).

  • 25 9-20-2010 at 7:32 pm

    Lena said...

    And I’m sorry Moore was fine in Kids, but Bening was clearly better and more believable as a dyke.”

    LOL!!! What??? Why is that? Because of Bening’s short haircut and Moore’s more femme long hair? We’re not trafficking in stereotypes much, huh?

    Honestly, if I had my druthers (and I have so much power when it comes to Oscar nominations) Bening would be nominated for Mother and Child. As good as she was in The Kids are All Right, she simply took my breath away with her raw, searing performance in Mother and Child. Just brilliant and it saddens me that if she gets a nod, it won’t be for that film (although I did like The Kids are All Right).

  • 26 9-20-2010 at 7:40 pm

    JJ said...

    To me, Julianne is Lead. Annette is a marginal Supporting. And Bening impressed me more in the film; found her more believable and funnier. If Bening goes Supporting, which I really, really think she should, she’d probably win. I don’t necessarily see her winning in Lead and certainly not Moore.

  • 27 9-20-2010 at 8:10 pm

    matsunaga said...

    Well there’s nothing we can do coz both of them are the lead… I supposed none will compete in supporting… Bening brings out the best in her role.. Moore also did a very well job on her part… Though if to choose between the two I prefer Benning to be nominated and that’s not because of her short hair…

  • 28 9-20-2010 at 8:22 pm

    tintin(uruguay) said...

    Julianne is OUT.

  • 29 9-20-2010 at 8:31 pm

    JR said...

    Well, if “Julianne is OUT,” then she’s officially at the top of the list of greatest female actors without an Oscar. Julianne Moore is one of the greatest film actors of her time, not that Oscar cares…

  • 30 9-20-2010 at 8:51 pm

    tintin(uruguay) said...

    Yes, she is out because de Academy really sucks…

  • 31 9-20-2010 at 9:07 pm

    Danny King said...

    Does anyone feel like the buzz surrounding “Kids” is dying down? Oh, wait, I felt the same way about “The Hurt Locker” last year…

  • 32 9-20-2010 at 9:46 pm

    Robert said...

    Once the critics’ awards/polls are released at the end of the year, TKAAR is going to be mentioned a lot, especially for the actors.

    In regards to Bening and Moore. Both are superb, but Bening goes the extra mile IMO. I think about a movie like The Hours, where Streep and Moore had more screen time than Kidman, but Kidman went the “extra mile” and won the Oscar. I feel Bening is in the same position.

  • 33 9-21-2010 at 12:13 am

    Gareth said...

    My favorite/lucky number is “12”….

    … This talkback only serves to support that I have indeed chosen wisely….

  • 34 9-21-2010 at 6:12 am

    KBJr. said...

    I suppose I’m the only one who found Moore’s character less-than likable, and even a little annoying. I don’t like what that role represented, and while Moore was fine, I may not be the only one who feels that way (which may explain the lack of passionate support for it).

    Benning on the other hand was remarkable. Was she a lead? Depends on how you slice it. My contention has always been that a lead role should have a standard of screen time. Meaning all lead nominees should be on the screen for, say, 30 minutes of a 90 minute film, or 30% of the movie. I know that isn’t a popular notion, but if you go by that, Benning could probably justify a lead nomination.

    But…if we’re talking narrative here, the Moore role seems more suited for lead simply because it drove most of the film’s plot.

    Benning should be in the Supporting Actress race because I think she has a legitimate place there and has a better chance at winning. Moore can try for lead, but I don’t even think she’d be nominated. The role and character just has no discernible qualities (IMO).

  • 35 9-21-2010 at 6:39 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Moore’s character isn’t supposed to be wholly likable — in her worst moments, Jules is pretty petulant and self-serving — but I did find her restlessness and her insecurities quite relatable. It’s a tricky balance, and Moore negotiates it adeptly.

    You aren’t seriously judging a performance on what the role represents, are you?

  • 36 9-21-2010 at 7:08 am

    Frank Lee said...

    As Kris keeps pointing out, this is a strong year for women in a leading performance. I doubt very much that either of the actresses from “The Kids Are All Right” will receive much mention in the end-of-the-year critics polls. They were both good and the movie was entertaining, but that probably won’t be enough to single them out from the field.

  • 37 9-21-2010 at 7:15 am

    KBJr. said...

    I agree. I don’t think Moore’s performance was ‘supposed’ to be likable. But if I were an Academy voter, I’m not sure “relatable” would inspire me to vote for her. Who wants to vote for a mirror of their own shame and guilt? We rarely elect “relatable” politicians…we vote for the “likable” candidate for the same reasons.

    As I see it, likability or awe will garner more votes than relatability. We can look to Brandon Teena vs. Carolyn Burnham as an example. Some performances have both! And they usually win too. See: Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts.

    Now in terms of judging role and performance…yes and no.

    I thought Moore did a fine job with the role. Mentioning that I didn’t like what the role represented was sort of an aside to that. Because even though I considered it an able performance, on some level my distaste for the character colors my judgment. I don’t think that’s an entirely foreign position to take. Especially if we’re talking about Academy voters.

  • 38 9-21-2010 at 7:45 am

    JJ said...

    I agree with everything KBjr. said. No one is saying Jules is evil. But I find her less than savory and wouldn’t jump to nominate Moore in it.

  • 39 9-21-2010 at 10:45 am

    kevin said...

    I truly believe Focus has hurt the Oscar chances for Moore and Bening ( even though it is fair) . They may cancel each other out of nominations. Hopefully, the Academy will nominate Annette for Supporting Actress ( “Mother and Child” ) and Julianne for Best Actress ( “The Kids Are All Right” ) . The competition this year is overwhelmingly strong. Which makes this a very exciting year. Because of the incredible competition this year, winning an Oscar nomination in the Best Actress category is a gift.

  • 40 9-21-2010 at 12:37 pm

    Eric said...

    Hopefully, as a relfection of what happened in 2002 with Meryl Streep (The Hours vs. Adaptation.), Bening will get the nomination for something better in a supporting role, with Motehr and Child. Will it happen? Probably not. But lets dream.

  • 41 9-21-2010 at 2:44 pm

    Michael W. said...

    Maybe they can just ignore the campaigns and nominate one of them in supporting and the other in lead after all.

    Wasn’t Kate Winslet campaigned all the way through in supporting for The Reader?

  • 42 9-21-2010 at 3:34 pm

    matsunaga said...

    Well, I think Bening’s role was the scene stealer in the movie… And maybe that is why the audience appreciate her more than Moore… I think since Focus Features said that both are lead, let’s expect they’ll campaign both actresses for the lead… Hopefully they won’t cancel out each other come nominations or in the precursors… But for me it’s Bening who gave a stronger performance…