Annette Bening was born on May 29, 1958 in Topeka, Kansas. She was the youngest of four children in her family. Her family moved to California when she was young and she grew up there. She graduated from San Francisco State University and began her acting career with the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, eventually moving to New York where she acted on the stage (including a Tony-award nomination in 1987 for her work in the Broadway play “Coastal Disturbances”) and got her first film roles, in a few TV movies.
American actress Bening is a four-time Oscar nominee for her roles in The Grifters, American Beauty, Being Julia, and The Kids Are All Right, and won the Golden Globe Awards for the next two films. She won a BAFTA and a SAG award for her performance in American Beauty.
“The Grifters” (1990):
This film got the first Oscar to her breakthrough role and each artist played their own angle against the others. Roy Dillon (John Cusack) is a simple, two-bit con, whose life is thrown into turmoil when his estranged mother Lilly (Anjelica Huston) returns home in an attempt to evade the law. Lilly doesn’t warm to Roy’s girlfriend Myra Langtry (Annette Bening), who is too similar to herself. Soon, the two women are competing for Roy in a battle that is more of a power struggle than a pursuit of affection, and the battle quickly turns dangerous.
It’s a rich 1940’s period piece lush, Bening played Virginia Hill and she’s absolute dynamite, spiking this drama about the famous mobster instrumental to the development of the Las Vegas Strip with sexual tension and a dash of danger. And it’s a safe bet that the way she carried those fabulous dresses she went a long way in securing the film that gets to her best-costume Oscar.
“The American President” (1995):
Director Rob Reiner has a rare touch with romantic comedies, and with the help of Aaron Sorkin’s script, he made an intelligent, political drama, Bening’s played a role of principled environmental lobbyist, as a Sydney Ellen Wade. She’s a whip-smart romantic interest and go head-to-head with a man as powerful as the president, which is key role to the film’s enduring charm.
American Beauty” (1999):
It is a hallmark performance of her career, American Beauty has always been not much more than an above average indie dark comedy. In this picture Bening played a real-estate business women role, whose real estate business is really taking off just as her husband Lester (Kevin Spacey) suffers a mid-life crisis.
“The Kids Are All Right” (2010):
This film gets recent Oscar to Bening and her role in this picture breakout Sundance hit. It is a family drama about a committed long-term lesbian relationship. Here Bening played uptight career woman Nic, whose relationship with her wife (Julianne Moore) and two children unravels when their long-ago sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo) re-enters the picture.