Annette Carol Bening (born May 29, 1958) is an American actress. She began her career on stage with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival company in 1980, and played Lady Macbeth in 1984 at the American Conservatory Theater. She was nominated for the 1987 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her Broadway debut in Coastal Disturbances and for the 2019 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for All My Sons. She made her film debut in Howard Deutch’s The Great Outdoors (1988), with Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, snd Stephanie Faracy; followed by Miloš Forman’s Valmont (1989), with Colin Firth, Meg Tilly, Fairuza Balk, Siân Phillips, and Henry Thomas.
Bening was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Stephen Frears’s The Grifter’s (1990), with John Cusack, Anjelica Huston, Pat Hingle, and J.T. Walsh. Other films in the early 1990s include Mike Nichols’s Postcards from the Edge (1990), with Meryl Streep, Shirley MacLaine, Dennis Quaid, Gene Hackman, and Richard Dreyfuss; Irwin Winkler’s Guilty by Suspicion (1991), with Robert De Niro, George Wendt, Patricia Wettig, and Sam Wanamaker; Regarding Henry (1991), with Bill Nunn, Rebecca Miller, Bruce Altman, and Elizabeth Wilson; Barry Levinson’s Bugsy (1991), with Warren Beatty (whom she married in 1992), Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Elliott Gould, Bebe Neuwirth, and Joe Mantegna; Love Affair (1994), with Beatty, Katharine Hepburn, Garry Shandling, Chloe Webb, Pierce Brosnan, Kate Capshaw, Paul Mazursky, and Brenda Vaccaro; Richard Loncraine’s Richard III (1995), with Ian McKellen, Jim Broadbent, Robert Downey Jr., Nigel Hawthorne, Kristin Scott Thomas, Maggie Smith, and John Wood; and Rob Reiner’s The American President (1995), with Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, and Dreyfuss.
Bening received her first nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Sam Mendes’s American Beauty (1999), with Kevin Spacey, Thora Birch, Allison Janney, Peter Gallagher, Mena Suvari, Wes Bentley, and Chris Cooper. Other films in the mid to late 1990s include Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! (1996), with Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Fox, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones, Lukas Haas, Pam Grier, Natalie Portman, Jim Brown, Lisa Marie, and Sylvia Sidney; Edward Zwick’s The Siege (1998), with Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, Tony Shalhoub, Sami Bouajila, and David Proval; and Neil Jordan’s In Dreams (1999), with Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, Downey, and Paul Guilfoyle.
Benning received her second Academy Award for Best Actress for István Szabó’s Being Julia (2004), with Jeremy Irons, Bruce Greenwood, Miriam Margolyes, Juliet Stevenson, Shaun Evans, Lucy Punch, Maury Chaykin, Rosemary Harris, Miriam Margolyes, Sheila McCarthy, Rita Tushingham, and Michael Gambon. Other roles in the 2000s include What Planet Are You From? (2000), with Shandling, Greg Kinnear, Kingsley, Linda Fiorentino, John Goodman, and Judy Greer; Open Range (2003), with Robert Duvall, Kevin Costner (who also directed), Gambon, and Michael Jeter; TV movie Mrs. Harris (2005), with Kingsley, Cloris Leachman, Chloë Sevigny, Frances Fisher, Michael Gross, Mary McDonnell, Philip Baker Hall, and Ellen Burstyn; Ryan Murphy’s Running with Scissors (2006), with Joseph Cross, Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Evan Rachel Wood, Alec Baldwin, Jill Clayburgh and Gwyneth Paltrow; and The Women (2008), with Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett Smith, Carrie Fisher, Leachman, Debi Mazar, Bette Midler, and Candice Bergen.
Bening received her third nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right (2010), with Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Mia Wasikowska, and Josh Hutcherson. Other films in the early 2010s include Ruby Sparks (2012), with Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Antonio Banderas, Steve Coogan, Gould, and Chris Messina; Sally Potter’s Ginger & Rosa (2012), with Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Alessandro Nivola, Christina Hendricks, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt, and Jodhi May; Girl Most Likely (2013), with Kristin Wiig, Matt Dillon, Christopher Fitzgerald, Natasha Lyonne, and Darren Criss; The Face of Love (2014), with Ed Harris, Robin Williams, Amy Brenneman, Jess Weixler and Linda ParkMichel Hazanavicius’s The Search (2014), with Bérénice Bejo; and Danny Collins (2015), with Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Plummer, Nick Offerman, Josh Peck, Melissa Benoist, and Fernando Colunga.
Films in the mid to late 2010s include Rules Don’t Apply (2016), with Beatty (who also directed), Matthew Broderick, Lily Collins, Alden Ehrenreich, Amy Madigan, Paul Sorvino, and Taissa Farmiga; Mike Mills’s 20th Century Women (2016), with Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann, Billy Crudup, and Alia Shawkat; Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (2017), with Jamie Bell, Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters, Kenneth Cranham, Stephen Graham, Frances Barber, and Leanne Best; The Seagull (2018), with Saoirse Ronan, Corey Stoll, Elisabeth Moss, Mare Winningham, Jon Tenney, Glenn Fleshler, Michael Zegen, Billy Howle, and Brian Dennehy; Life Itself (2018), with Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Mandy Patinkin, Olivia Cooke, Laia Costa, and Banderas; the Marvel film Captain Marvel (2019), with Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law; and The Report (2019), with Adam Driver, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, and Jon Hamm.
Films in the 2020s include Hope Gap (2020), with Bill Nighy, Josh O’Connor, Aiysha Hart, Ryan McKen, Steven Pacey, and Nicholas Burns; Georgetown (2021), with Christoph Waltz (who also directed), Redgrave, and Corey Hawkins.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Manhunt for Claude Dallas (1986) – directed by Jerry London – TV movie
- Hostage (1988) – directed by Peter Levin – TV movie
- The Great Outdoors (1988) – directed by Howard Deutch
- Valmont (1989) – directed by Miloš Forman
- The Grifters (1990) – directed by Stephen Frears
- Postcards from the Edge (1990) – directed by Mike Nichols
- Guilty by Suspicion (1991) – directed by Irwin Winkler
- Regarding Henry (1991) – directed by Mike Nichols
- Bugsy (1991) – directed by Barry Levinson
- Love Affair (1994) – directed by Glenn Gordon Caron
- Richard III (1995) – directed by Richard Loncraine
- The American President (1995) – directed by Rob Reiner
- Mars Attacks! (1996)* – directed by Tim Burton
- The Siege (1998) – directed by Edward Zwick
- In Dreams (1999) – directed by Neil Jordan
- The Book That Wrote Itself (1999) – directed by Liam O Mochain – cameo
- American Beauty (1999) – directed by Sam Mendes
- What Planet Are You From? (2000) – directed by Mike Nichols
- Open Range (2003) – directed by Kevin Costner
- Being Julia (2004) – directed by István Szabó
- Mrs. Harris (2005) – directed by Phyllis Nagy – TV movie
- Running with Scissors (2006) – directed by Ryan Murphy
- The Women (2008)* – directed by Diane English
- Mother and Child (2010) – directed by Rodrigo García
- The Kids Are All Right (2010) – directed by Lisa Cholodenko
- Ruby Sparks (2012) a directed by Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
- Ginger & Rosa (2012) – directed by Sally Potter
- Girl Most Likely (2013) – directed by Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini
- The Face of Love (2014) – directed by Arie Posin
- The Search (2014) – directed by Michel Hazanavicius
- Danny Collins (2015) – directed by Dan Fogelman
- Rules Don’t Apply (2016) – directed by Warren Beatty
- 20th Century Women (2016) – directed by Mike Mills
- Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (2017) – directed by Paul McGuigan
- The Seagull (2018) – directed by Michael Mayer
- Life Itself (2018) – directed by Dan Fogelman
- Captain Marvel (2019)* – directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
- The Report (2019) – directed by Scott Z. Burns
- Hope Gap (2020) – directed by William Nicholson
- Georgetown (2021) – directed by Christoph Waltz
- Death on the Nile (2022) – directed by Kenneth Branagh