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Annette Bening: Is she vying for a career Oscar?

January 31, 2011 |  3:20 pm

Check out the recent "For Your Consideration" ads for Annette Bening's lead role in "The Kids Are All Right" and you'll notice that Focus Features is no longer centering its campaign solely on her part as the wine-swilling uptight Nic. Rather, the ads argue, a vote for Bening is a vote for her work in "American Beauty," "Being Julia" and "The Grifters," all the films she's been nominated for over the years but roles for which she always walks away empty-handed. "It's her year," the ads proclaim.

Will the strategy work? Jeff Bridges' Oscar last year for "Crazy Heart" was in a lot of ways a lifetime achievement award for all his roles that audiences love that have never been recognized. But do voters love Bening's work? Surely, she's fantastic in all her parts and her performance in "American Beauty" is certainly one of the most memorable of her career. It seems like a smart way to go, what with Natalie Portman reaping all the trophies for her transformative part in "Black Swan," but whether it will be enough, we'll find out Feb. 27.

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right." Credit: Suzanne Tenner/Focus Features