Annette Bening in “American Beauty”

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  • cinephil
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    #73396

    Just rewatched “American Beauty” after more than 10 years and was really impressed. The movie had not aged at all and was well deserving of all its accolades. However, it sort of surprised me that it did not win best score at the Oscars since Thomas Newman’s main theme has turned out to be one for the ages. Plus, I was particularly curious to rewatch Annette Bening’s excellent performance thinking about its oscarworthyness. Now I also share the opinion that one of the main reasons why she did not claim the trophy must have been due to category misplacement: Given her screen time and the way the whole story revolves around Kevin Spacey’s character, I guess she could have easily been regarded as supporting – definitely more than for her stunning work in “The Kids Are Alright”. Besides, Hilary Swank simply dominated “Boys Don’t Cry” and was basically in each scene of it. What is your take on this?

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    Anonymous
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    #73398

    I agree about Thomas Newman not winning that year.  I mean, The Red Violin?  Really?  I don’t even remember it.  Newman’s score is iconic, spawning a bevy of “strange-wonder-of-family-life mood suites,” as Owen Gleiberman once described them.

    Bening was also iconic in this and I swear to God had Swank not been in contention the Oscar would’ve been hers with a beautiful cherry red bow wrapped around it.  I understand and can even agree with the argument that she should’ve been placed in supporting…

    But the power of her work in this coupled with the overall meaning of the film and her character in it – she’s the second most important archetype in the story – make her a lead in my eyes.  And a deserved one, at that.  Her work is so strong in this, in fact, I would’ve been content with a tie…

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    Carbon Based Lifeform
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    #73399

    ^Hilary Swank was unbeatable. I hope Annette Bening wins some day; she certainly has earned it.

    Thomas Newman is one of my favorite film composers, but John Corigliano’s score is incredibly lush, complex and gorgeous (I am listening to it right now) and has the advantage of featuring exquisite solo violin (performed by Joshua Bell)… for a movie called “The Red Violin”! But after 10 (!) nominations, Newman deserves an Oscar.

    I also love AB’s cinematography, but I wish Emmanuel Lubezki (“Sleepy Hollow”) would win some day; he also certainly deserves it.

     

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    Gabriel
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    #73400

    Hilary Swank completely owned Boys Don’t Cry. She deserved it. And like you said, Anette Benning’s role in American Beauty wasn’t really a leading role anyway. Being in the wrong category probably didn’t help.

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    babypook
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    #73401

    Annette Bening!

    I love her work.

    The Grifters
    Bugsy
    The Kids are All Right
    Mother and Child
    Richard III
    The American President
    Wiseguy
    Running with Scissors

    It’s only a matter of time before someone(s) expresses the opinion that she is “over the top” in American Beauty. I dont think so at all. She was so nuts, and wonderfully so. Poor Lester.

    I’m not sure if Imogene can get her another nomination, but I’d love to see her win an Oscar.

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    iskolar
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    #73402

    I really wish Annette Bening gets an Oscar someday. While I’m not a fan of her Being Julia nomination, her three other nominations were completely deserving and some even of wins.

    It’s really hard to argue with Hilary Swank’s win, as I felt it was one of the best performances to win in its category ever. I have a theory had The Kids Are All Right been released this year, Bening would have easily be a shoo-in for Best Actress.

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    blueprint
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    #73403

    I know I’m in the minority, but I love American Beauty in its entirety. The screenplay is one of my favorites of all time. the directing, cinematography, the performances everything works so fantastically together that the end result is close to perfection.

    Thomas Newman is amazing and it’s terrible that he didn’t win for this score. But I have to admit that his most recent work doesn’t reach the quality of his previous masterpieces anymore.

    While I like a couple of Bening’s performances, including this one, I’m really not in looking forward to ever see her win the Oscar. She seems to be way too full of herself and a real bitch. I wouldn’t ever want to spend just 20 seconds with her.

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    GhostOrchid
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    #73404

    I like AB a lot and think the film and Kevin Spacey deserved their wins. But yeah, Benning is borderline supporting imo and at least in that year Hilary Swank simply deserved to win.
    And I was really REALLY shocked to find out Thomas Newman has NOT won best score! I lived actually years with belief he did!  

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    cinephil
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    #73405

    Annette Bening!

    I love her work.

    The Grifters
    Bugsy
    The Kids are All Right
    Mother and Child
    Richard III
    The American President
    Wiseguy
    Running with Scissors

    It’s only a matter of time before someone(s) expresses the opinion that she is “over the top” in American Beauty. I dont think so at all. She was so nuts, and wonderfully so. Poor Lester.

    I’m not sure if Imogene can get her another nomination, but I’d love to see her win an Oscar.

    Yeah, after her first two scenes I could understand why some people felt it was “over the top”. But it sure was not. It is definitely a mulitlayered performance and I agree had Swank not been in there, the Oscar would have been hers.

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    Pieman1994
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    #73406

    I’m with blueprint on this one. American Beauty remains my tenth favorite film of all time. It has a killer screenplay, remarkable direction, and an outstanding cast, not the least of which is Benning. I have not seen Boys Don’t Cry, so I cannot say whether or not Benning deserved a statuette over Swank. What I can say is that Benning gave one of my favorite performances of all time. She’s magnetizing. There’s not a moment where she’s on screen where she does not tear it up completely. She’s over the top at times, but she makes it work. Had she won her Oscar for that film, she would have won it for a brilliant performance, which she probably would have deserved. 

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    Icky
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    #73407

    Score and cinematography are the only wins I would’ve give AB. It remains fun, colorful entertainment, but it also still remains a lukewarm sitcom meets a sappy, overwrought family drama. Bening has recovered from her trifling work in AB, Running With Scissors and Being Julia with her recent performances in Mother and Child, and The Kids are All Right. I wouldn’t have minded seeing her win for either of those.

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    Anonymous
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    #73408

    I have not seen Boys Don’t Cry.

     

    AB, Running With Scissors and Being Julia with her recent performances in Mother and Child, and The Kids are All Right. I wouldn’t have minded seeing her win for either of those.

    Her performances in American BeautyRunning With Scissors and Being Julia are amazing.  She gets criticized for being “over the top” in those films but she was playing over-the-top characters (a repressed OCD realtor, a manic-depressive poet and an actress).  I agree, though, she was equally sublime and understated in Mother and Child (ugh, that scene when she asks to be told about her mother; GAH!) and The Kids Are Alright (the dinner table scene; favorite line: “I need your opinion like I need a dick in my ass.”)

     

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    Laactingnyc
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    #73409

    Hilary Swank deserved her 2 wins

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    Trent
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    #73410

    Swank deserved it. But if they revealed who came in second, it was certainly Bening.

    I agree with the theory stated above that if The Kids Are All Right was released this year, Bening would be a shoo-in, but for supporting. I’m in the group that sees her as supporting Julianne Moore in that film. Had Bening been placed in supporting the year of the film’s actual contention, she would have kicked Melissa Leo’s undeserving ass. Moore would also be way out front in this year’s funky Best Actress race for not only her fantastic performance in TKAAR, but also because of Game Change. The universal acclaim she received for Game Change, paired with her inevitable and well-deserved upcoming sweep of the Globes and SAGs would only help her. Two overdue actresses, Bening and Moore, would win their Oscars on the same night, and Trent would be a happy boy.

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    Renaton
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    #73411

    Score and cinematography are the only wins I would’ve give AB. It remains fun, colorful entertainment, but it also still remains a lukewarm sitcom meets a sappy, overwrought family drama. Bening has recovered from her trifling work in AB, Running With Scissors and Being Julia with her recent performances in Mother and Child, and The Kids are All Right. I wouldn’t have minded seeing her win for either of those.

    I don’t think Bening deserved an Oscar for those two last films, but I agree with you on the rest. 

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