Bening to be honored at Santa Barbara fest

Posted by · 11:10 am · November 1st, 2010

It’s not exactly a precursor, but the news we just received that Annette Bening is to receive the American Riviera Award at next year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a bullish omen for her Oscar chances.

The prize, a career achievement award given annually to “an actor who has had a strong influence on American cinema,” has coincided with the Academy Award more often than not in the past five years: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Forest Whitaker and Sandra Bullock all scooped it up on their campaign trails, while it presaged nominations for Tommy Lee Jones and Mickey Rourke. Clearly, festival director Roger Durling and his team think Bening’s hour has come.

Bening has a good relationship with the SBIFF: she was previously honored with their Montecito Award in 2005. The award will presented on January 28, the second day of the fest — accompanied, as is their custom, by an onstage retrospective and Q&A with the actress. As usual, Kris will be attending the festival to bring you the highlights of the occasion. Press release excerpt after the cut.

“I fell in love with Annette Bening the moment I saw her on Broadway in Coastal Disturbances in 1987, commented SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “It was one of those ‘a star is born’ moments. Ever since, she’s been one of my favorite actresses, and she will always have a home here at the festival.”

In her most recent performance as Nic in The Kids Are All Right, she expertly navigated through a vast range of emotions, bringing to light and life the non-traditional family with a character determined to keep her family together. Earlier this year in Mother and Child saw Bening personify a very different character in Karen who was isolated and distant in her relationships with everyone. Proving yet again that she is not one to shy away from a challenge, she took on two diametrically opposed versions of the modern day mother.

From her work in romantic comedies such as The American President and American Beauty, to her dramatic and compelling performances in Being Julia, Regarding Henry and The Grifters, Bening consistently embraces the story as well as the character adding a level of authenticity rarely seen on screen. She has time and again made a significant contribution to the world of films and of America throughout her career.

[Photo: Focus Features]

→ 17 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

17 responses so far

  • 1 11-01-2010 at 12:17 pm

    Joseph Giancarlo said...

    … And Honors Begin!!! This is definitely her year! She was the front runner since JANUARY after sundance… so she is jus a couple of months to make it!

  • 2 11-01-2010 at 12:24 pm

    Hans said...

    I would have loved if you had posted a YouTube clip of “I will sell this house today.” Hopefully her time has finally come.

  • 3 11-01-2010 at 1:18 pm

    cineJAB said...

    how many random southern california based film festivals are there and do each of the give out like 30 awards? Sorry, announcements like this always seem to run together for me.

  • 4 11-01-2010 at 1:27 pm

    Maxim said...

    cineJab, are you sure you don’t just confuse this with other announements that came from SBFF this year? Remember the “Modern Master” award for Nolan that was announced a few weeks back? It came from this festival too.

  • 5 11-01-2010 at 5:38 pm

    JR said...

    And again I ask – how is Bening more “due” for an Oscar than Julianne Moore? Moore’s appeared in twice as many films and received 4 Oscar nods to Bening’s 3. Is it because Bening’s only lost once to Hilary Swank?

  • 6 11-01-2010 at 6:06 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    “How is Bening more “due” for an Oscar than Julianne Moore?”

    I don’t think anybody’s saying she is. But for whatever reason, Bening’s is the performance that seems to have captured more viewers’ imaginations. (As I’ve said before, I prefer Moore in the film.)

  • 7 11-01-2010 at 7:38 pm

    Andy said...

    Did they just call American Beauty a romantic comedy? An off-base assessment if you ask me.

  • 8 11-02-2010 at 3:32 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I didn’t even catch that! Oh dear. They could have left it at “comedies,” and got away with it.

  • 9 11-02-2010 at 4:24 am

    Robert Hamer said...

    I’m just happy that I can root for a Best Actress front-runner again.

  • 10 11-02-2010 at 4:42 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Indeed. And not just Bening. Lawrence, Portman, Manville, Moore, Hawkins, Williams, potentially Kidman… we’re looking at a Best Actress slate where I might just like all five nominees. Exciting stuff.

    Don’t screw it up, Academy.

  • 11 11-02-2010 at 6:54 am

    Jeff said...

    Since we’re talking about Bening here:

  • 12 11-02-2010 at 7:40 am

    Michael said...

    I haven’t seen all of the movies yet, but the idea of the 8 actresses you’ve just listed as being possible nominees has me way too excited beyond belief. I honestly can’t remember an acting category where I was rooting for all 5 nominees. As you said, don’t screw it up Academy!

  • 13 11-02-2010 at 8:43 am

    Jim T said...

    Guy, be prepared for Chloë Grace Moretz to be nominated for Kick Ass. You know the Academy usually hates us ;)

  • 14 11-02-2010 at 8:48 am

    Jim T said...

    And I am one of the people who thought Bening was better. I doubt the showiness of the role influenced me (or Nick, who agrees) in my view. Not that you said that. Kris did and maybe you suspect the same for some people. Which might, indeed, be the case. (again, for some people)

    I just thought Bening nailed it and was always interesting whereas Moore was just solid. Lazy criticism but honest, nevertheless.

  • 15 11-02-2010 at 8:53 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “I doubt the showiness of the role influenced me…”

    I wouldn’t expect it to, since I think the idea of Bening having the “showier” role is a blogosphere-invented fallacy. I personally think the “big” scenes are quite evenly distributed between Moore and Bening.

  • 16 11-02-2010 at 9:09 am

    Jim T said...

    I agree. I guess I think of it as showy because she plays a “tough” lesbial (silly expression but I couldn’t find something else) whereas Moore is straight-looking. I didn’t mean it as “the more explosive one” (or implosive? I confuse them).

    But yes, Moore gets to impress (that monologue) later in the movie than Bening. But, obviously, all that is important only if you think about performances in a shallow way.

  • 17 11-02-2010 at 5:48 pm

    csm said...

    to answer CineJAB’s inquiry…Santa Barbara does hand out several awards, but the difference is the people they select are honored individually (they each have their own night) with an in-depth conversation and look at their filmography. Much more interesting, I think.