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Annette Bening

  • American actress
  • Born May 29, 1958

Annette Carol Bening (born May 29, 1958) is an American actress. She began her career on stage with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival company in 1980, and played Lady Macbeth in 1984 at the American Conservatory Theatre. She was nominated for the 1987 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her Broadway debut in Coastal Disturbances and for the 2019 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for All My Sons. She is a four-time Academy Award nominee for the films: The Grifters (1990), American Beauty (1999), Being Julia (2004), and The Kids Are All Right (2010).


I love being busy, and I love having a lot going on; it's exciting.




It's easier to see in someone else, another actor, how they kind of disappear and then this other persona appears. A great actor is a thing of mystery.




Find the story you want to tell. If you don't want to write it, find somebody to write it.




I still remember the five points of salesmanship: attention, interest, conviction, desire and close.




To me idealized characters are so boring to play, especially having grown up in the classical theater. That's a great experience, but as a woman, especially, you've played a lot of idealized characters. So when you've got someone who has weaknesses as well as strengths, that's interesting.




Most people are looking for something to give their life meaning.




I remember hearing someone say that good acting is more about taking off a mask than putting one on, and in movie acting, certainly that's true. With the camera so close, you can see right down into your soul, hopefully. So being able to do that in a way is terrifying, and in another way, truly liberating. And I like that about it.




I think what's interesting about the whole paparazzi thing is that unless you're Brad Pitt or Madonna, you can pretty much avoid it. You know when you're going to an opening that you will be photographed, so that's fine. And you know the restaurants that have paparazzi, so you don't go to them.




There's love for your parents, your family, your spouse, your partner, your friends, but the nature of the connection you have with your child, there's nothing like it. It has its own character and it's so serious and so powerful, and so it's a prism through which I see everything.

There's love for your parents, your family, your spouse, your partner, your friends, but the nature of the connection you have with your child, there's nothing like it. It has its own character and it's so serious and so powerful, and so it's a prism through which I see everything.




And if there's anything movies can do in a way that I just love, and I love as an audience is, 'Show me something I don't know about. Show me something I haven't seen.'




I read 'Game Change.' If you want to relive the campaign, that book is unbelievable. It's great. It's the book of that campaign. It brought all the memories back of everything with Clinton and Obama, and Sarah Palin and McCain, and choosing her, and John Edwards. It was an interesting book.




There are so many different kinds of relationships, so it's sort of difficult to define what is considered normal.




Acting is not about being famous, it's about exploring the human soul.




Oh, honey, I'm from Oklahoma! This is who I am - middle-class all the way!




Five billion people have played Hamlet. 'To be or not to be.' And how do you do that and find your way into your own journey, your own way of telling it?




Anybody who has children and children who are well feels a sense of responsibility towards parents and kids and families that are struggling and that aren't well.




I'm certainly not a perfect mother, but I am an avid mother, let me put it that way.




I act, but I am a mother first and wife second.




By the time I was in high school, Roe v. Wade had passed, so that was also happening; girls were getting pregnant and getting abortions - and that happened in my school too.




I've made some movies that I really loved that nobody saw.




The tension I feel is the moment they say, 'Action!' Movies are like lightning in a bottle, and you always want to find when you possibly can catch a surprising moment.




It used to be the one or the other, right? You were the 'bad girl' or the 'good girl' or the 'bad mother' or 'the good mother,' 'the horrible businesswoman who eschewed her children' or 'the earth mother who was happy to be at home baking pies,' all of that stuff that we sort of knew was a lie.




I wanted to be a classical actress. I plodded along. I went to junior college in San Francisco, I was in a Repertory Company. My hero was Eva Le Gallienne, who was a great theater actress at the turn of the century who created her own company, and she wrote these hilarious autobiographies at the time.




I don't really have a choice. I'm getting older.




I love the luxury of the camera. The camera does so much for you. I like the secrets a camera can tell.




I am really looking forward as I get older and older, to being less and less nice.




I think you sort of shed skins as you go along in life. You get into your 40s, and you feel like, 'OK, no more pretending.' You get to just be who you are.




I like that I've been through things, that when something happens, it resonates with something that already happened. It's not that things like loss are more or less painful. But they're deeper. I find that fascinating.




I just want to be educated.




When I started, I was a theater actress, and there were roles that I couldn't imagine not playing, like Rosalind in 'As You Like It.' I used to think I would die if I could play that. But then I started doing movies, and I had children, and I moved to Los Angeles. And now I kind of can't remember what those roles would be.




We all get lost along the way, but hopefully we figure out some sort of path. It helps if you can imagine the process as well as the goal. Those kinds of dreams are easier to achieve.




I never felt like I had made it.




I do have to take care of myself, not only because I'm in the movies, just for mental health reasons. I exercise for me. You know, maybe it would be nice to not have to do that in order to feel good, but I do. I feel like I have to, to feel good. To clear my head and all of that, so.




It's always 'busy' with four children; it's chaos.




I never speak for my husband, and I never speak for my children. It's a rule. Believe me, it is.




My husband and I have very similar backgrounds even though we're years apart. So there are a lot of things that we basically share.



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