A24 has released a trailer for “20th Century Women,” which opens in theaters on December 25. It stars Annette Bening, a four-time Oscar-nominee still aiming for her first victory, and it’s directed by Mike Mills, who recently directed another actor to a long-overdue Oscar triumph: Christopher Plummer in “Beginners” (2011). Watch the trailer above and decide for yourself if it looks like an awards contender.
Bening plays Dorothea Fields, a 1970s single mother raising a teenage son, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann). The cast also features Golden Globe-nominee Greta Gerwig (“Frances Ha”), Elle Fanning and Billy Crudup. Mills also penned the screenplay, which is just his third feature film as a writer-director — before “Beginners” he also helmed the indie festival hit “Thumbsucker” (2005).
Bening’s first Oscar nomination was 26 years ago: Best Supporting Actress for “The Grifters” (1990); she lost that award to Whoopi Goldberg (“Ghost”). Bening likely came close in her next attempt, when she was nominated for Best Actress for “American Beauty” (1999). That film won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Sam Mendes), Best Original Screenplay (Alan Ball) and Best Actor (Kevin Spacey), but Bening was thwarted by up-and-comer Hilary Swank (“Boys Don’t Cry”).
Swank won Best Actress again in 2004 for “Million Dollar Baby,” the year Bening was nominated for “Being Julia.” Her most recent nomination to date was for another Best Picture-nominee: the indie dramedy “The Kids Are All Right” (2010); Natalie Portman took that prize for “Black Swan” instead. (Incidentally, Portman is also back this year with another awards contender, the docudrama “Jackie.”)
What do you think of Bening’s chances this time around? And could “20th Century Women” also earn nominations and wins for her co-stars, for her writer-director and even for Best Picture?
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