Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Bening Human

The classy Annette Bening has been getting lots of flack for her odd acceptance speech at the Globes and a lot of people are saying that Hilary Swank who trounced Bening at the 99 Oscars will perform a similar knockout this time, since she's in a lauded possibly about-to-be popular film.

History does repeat itself from time to time but let's hope this rematch goes to the better actor. (For those who need help with this one the better actor would be Annette Bening.) Just have a mini-festival of The Grifters, Valmost, The American President, American Beauty, and Being Julia if you don't believe me.

I'll have much more to say about the race once the nominations are announced but there's no point in dissecting completely now before we know what the eventual field will be like.


NicksFlickPicks said...

I have to say, even though I thought there were a few better lead-actress performances this year than Bening's, she certainly was very good, and she was better than Hilary Swank. Who was fine, but that's it. Bening was very fine, Nicole Kidman and Imelda Staunton were fantastic, and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine was, in Jamie Foxx's expression, Off The Chain.

If Hilary wins a second Oscar, it'll be like Jack winning in '97 for As Good As It Gets: gratuitous *and* undeserved, even though I like her.

And re: Bening's speech, her delivery was a little zombified (esp. for someone claiming to have had "a hell of a good time" making it), but I actually thought the content of what she said was pretty classy. Imagine being a sister-in-law and getting a shout-out like that. I was into it. People said the same things about Phylicia Rashad's Tony speech this past June, but I say these women have a right to hold court for a little moment. It's a diva thing.

Anonymous said...

I think more than the speech itself (which was odd and stiff and sounded overly rehearsed, but wasn't actually offensive or anything), the thing that bugged me was the delayed reaction / tip-of-the-champagne thing. That seemed arrogant, to me.

And I love Annette and would like to see her beat Swank for Best Actress. But that speech was pretty disastrous.

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced most of the Academy members who actually see 'Being Julia' will give Annette their vote-not too many actress ever get the opportunity to attempt a role this rich, and Bening was pitch-perfect in her characterization, creating a warm, funny, dramatic and romantic Diva for the ages (Margo Channing would tip her cigarette to Julia). Portraying a larger-than-life actress with more than a few redeemable qualities certainly should place Annette in an advantageous position in the Best Actress race, as many voters will have a much easier time identifying with Being's role than those of her competitors-at least I'm hoping to God they do, after previously snubbing this remarkable talent on two separate Oscar occasions, wherein Bening was up for tremendous performances playing women whose personalities were NOT loaded with admirable traits. Sure, there's infrequent wins by a 'Network'-ing Faye Dunaway, a 'Misery'-bound Kathy Bates or a 'Monster'-ous Charlize Theron, but Oscar typically prefers their Actress winners to partake of a more noble countenance, whether they're portraying victims (see Halle Berry or, hey, Swank) or winners (see Julia Roberts or Frances McDormand). Hopefully this "likability" factor will come into play for Bening this time around.
Bening's victory at the Globes is great news for her supporters, as it places her back in prime contention for the Oscar after Staunton and Swank's monopolization of the acting prizes over the last month or so (unlike her top rivals, Bening's running no danger of "peaking too early" during this Award Season).
I think the Bening/Swank "rematch" aspect of the Best Actress race could also work in Annette's favor, as voters reach the logical conclusion that Bening definitely warrants one Oscar before Hilary is granted two Academy Awards.
A final (if obvious) note: if the contest between Bening and Swank gets too close, the split vote aspect could give Imelda Staunton the edge in the contest ala Judy Holiday, who beat out frontrunners Bette Davis and Gloria Swanson for 1950 Best Actress prize.

Looking forward to the nominations,

Anonymous said...

Halle Berry played a victim, true, but her I don't think her character was really that virtuous. You remember she murdered her son?

Anonymous said...

In a couple of scenes before her son died, we saw her beating him. When Thornton drives up she says her son was hit by a car. After taking her into the hospital, Thornton returns to the car and cleans the blood off her purse to make it no longer look like it was used to beat someone with.