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Annette Bening has been nominated three times for an Academy Award, for her performances in Stephen Frears’ The Grifters, István Szabó’s Being Julia, and Sam Mendes’ American Beauty. Her work in the latter also earned her a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe Award nomination, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards (one for her portrayal, and one as part of the ensemble).
Her work in Being Julia additionally earned her a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and the National Board of Review’s award for Best Actress. Her performance in The Grifters additionally brought her the Best Supporting Actress award from the National Society of Film Critics and her first BAFTA Award nomination. Ms. Bening’s performance in Phyllis Nagy’s telefilm Mrs. Harris earned her Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Emmy Award nominations. She has also received Golden Globe Award nominations for her performances in James Toback’s Bugsy, Rob Reiner’s The American President, and Ryan Murphy’s Running with Scissors.
Her other films include Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother and Child; Mike Nichols’ Postcards from the Edge, What Planet Are You From?, and Regarding Henry; Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks!; Glenn Gordon Caron’s Love Affair; Milos Forman’s Valmont; Richard Loncraine’s Richard III; Irwin Winkler’s Guilty by Suspicion; and Edward Zwick’s The Siege. Ms. Bening has been honored at the Boston, Palm Springs, and Chicago Film Festivals with Lifetime Achievement Awards; and has received the Donostia Prize at the San Sebastian International Film Festival. She won the Actress of the Year award at the Hollywood Film Festival; and received the Montecito Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
Her Los Angeles theater credits include the Anton Chekhov play The Cherry Orchard, at the Mark Taper Forum; and Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, at the Tiffany Theatre. She also played the title role in Medea at UCLA. She most recently starred in Joanna Murray-Smith’s play The Female of the Species, staged by Randall Arney at the Geffen Playhouse, where Ms. Bening had earlier starred in the title role of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler.
Born in Kansas and raised in San Diego, Ms. Bening was enrolled at a local college when she got a job as a dancer in a pre-show presented outside of San Diego’s famed Old Globe Theatre. This led to a walk-on in a Shakespearean production and then two plays with the San Diego Repertory Theatre. She later graduated from San Francisco State University and was accepted by the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where she trained until she joined the acting company. After appearing in summer Shakespearean festivals and regional productions, her career took her to New York. There, she received a Tony Award nomination and won the Clarence Derwent Award for most outstanding female debut performance of the season for her role in Tina Howe’s play Coastal Disturbances, staged by Carole Rothman (originally off-Broadway at the Second Stage and then on Broadway).