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Oscar Nominee Trivia File: Annette Bening

Best Actress nominee Annette Bening, who picked up a fourth Oscar nomination for her turn in "The Kids Are All Right," has been giving stellar performances her entire career, from "The Grifters" to "Bugsy" to "American Beauty." But did you know her first feature was the broad comedy "The Great Outdoors," playing Dan Aykroyd's wife?

Find out more about this talented actress!

Oscar Nominee Trivia File: Annette Bening

The School Years

Bening 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 received a Tony nomination in 1987 for her work in the Broadway play "Coastal Disturbances."

The Great Outdoors

Annette's first film role was in this broad family comedy, playing Dan Aykroyd's wacky wife. Anyone remember it?


Based on de Laclos' "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," Bening plays the deliciously wicked Merteuil to Colin Firth's Valmont in director Milos Forman's 1989 adaptation.

The Grifters

Annette's artful turn as a con artist in this 1990 gem brought her first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Regarding Henry

Bening stars with Harrison Ford in this 1991 drama about a hard-edged lawyer who survives a shooting, only to find he cannot remember anything.


In 1991, Annette starred as Virginia Hill, the fiery gangster moll who helps Warren Beatty's Bugsy Siegel build Las Vegas. For Bening and Beatty, the film also marked the beginning of a lasting relationship. The couple have four children: Kathlyn (19), Benjamin (17), Isabel (14), and Ella (10).


At the 63rd Annual Academy Awards, host Billy Crystal introduced Bening by saying, "She'll soon be appearing as none other than Catwoman in 'Batman Returns.'" The part ended up going to Michelle Pfeiffer when Bening had to drop out because she was pregnant.

Richard III

Annette showed her classical chops, playing opposite Sir Ian McKellan in the 1995 re-imagining of Shakespeare's play.

The American President

As the tough lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade, Bening falls for widower Michael Douglas, who also happens to be the President of the United States.

American Beauty

Bening received her second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actress, playing the high-strung real estate agent in the 1999 Best Picture winner.

Role Models

Bening has said her idols are Helen Mirren, Frances McDormand, Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Bergman.

Being Julia

Annette earned her third Oscar nomination, a Best Actress nod for her portrayal of a 1930s stage diva whose success and fame grow suddenly wearisome.

Running with Scissors

The actress takes a stab at playing a thoroughly dysfunctional mother, who puts her son through the wringer.

The Kids Are All Right

In her fourth Oscar-nominated performance, Bening plays one half of a loving lesbian couple, whose growing children become interested in finding out who their biological father is.

What's Up Next?

Bening will star in the upcoming drama "Hemingway & Fuentes," with Anthony Hopkins and Andy Garcia. Hopkins plays writer Ernest Hemingway who befriends boat captain Gregorio Fuentes (Garcia), who inspires him to pen the famous tale "The Old Man and the Sea."