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Alumna Annette Bening honored for 'Being Julia'

January 26, 2005

Photo of Annette BeningFilm critics and fans, who have been raving about Annette Bening's performance in "Being Julia" since the film hit theaters in October, were not surprised to find the actress's name among the newly released list of Academy Award nominees.

Earlier this month, after Bening picked up a Golden Globe award for her role as fading stage diva Julia Lambert, reporters were already asking what she would be wearing to the Oscars.

Bening now has reason to pick out that dress -- she joins Catalina Sandino Moreno, Imelda Stauton, Hilary Swank and Kate Winslet as a nominee for an Oscar in the category of best actress in a leading role.

The alumna is a three-time Academy Award nominee. She received her first nomination in 1990 and was named best supporting actress by the National Film Critics Association for her role in "The Grifters." Bening was nominated again by the Academy in 1999 for best actress in a leading role for her performance in "American Beauty" opposite Kevin Spacey.

The New York Times critic A.O. Scott wrote of her recent performance in "Being Julia," a film adaptation of W. Somserset Maugham's novel "Theatre": "Ms. Bening shows both fragility and dignity, managing a hectic plot with glamour and aplomb."

Bening graduated with honors from SFSU in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in theatre arts and was named Alumna of the Year in 1995. "I received a terrific education at San Francisco State," she has said. "I really benefited from all of the energy there that went into supporting the arts."

After SFSU, Bening was accepted at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where she trained and then joined the acting company. She made her feature film debut in "The Great Outdoors," opposite Dan Aykroyd and John Candy.

Faculty who worked with Bening at SFSU recall:

"Annette had an intense maturity in spite of her age."

"She could display intense concentration and self-awareness and without ego or self-consciousness."

"She brought people to laughter."

At the request of August Coppola, then dean of the School of Creative Arts, Bening returned to campus to take part in a "sky-breaking ceremony" for a renovated fine arts building in 1993 and also made time to share her advice with young, aspiring actors.

"When I was a student, I always wondered what it was like to actually be in 'the business.' Now I have a chance to share some of my experience," she said.

Among her advice: "Do what you love. Trust that you'll end up headed in the right direction. It's the only way to live."

The 77th annual Academy Awards will air live on television on Sunday, Feb. 27.

-- Adrianne Bee


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Last modified January 25, 2005 by University Communications