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Annette Bening fires up her Oscar campaign

February 10, 2011 |  3:22 pm

Kids are all right 14

Natalie Portman ("Black Swan") may have more pundits predicting she'll win the Oscar, but Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right") is hitting the campaign trail hard in this home stretch while hoping to make a late surge.

She recently introduced "The Kids Are All Right" at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and was honored at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. She's made the TV rounds: "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (Jan. 25), "Live with Regis and Kelly" and "Nightlight" (last Friday), "Charlie Rose" (Monday), "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (Wednesday night) and "Nightline" (Thursday night).

Meanwhile, Bening is being honored by the Entertainment Industry Foundation Women's Cancer Fund at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Thursday night. She's receiving the Nat King Cole Award for charitable work at the event, which is hosted by Conan O'Brien.

She hasn't made herself widely available to Oscar bloggers and journalists, but she did do interviews with the Envelope and Deadline Hollywood for the print issues mailed to academy members. And she did participate in Q&As held by the Envelope, Variety, Screen Actors Guild and the Women in Film organization.

Bening has a few strong pluses in her favor: She's a member of the Academy's board of governors and in "The Kids Are All Right," she portrays a lesbian. Playing gay helped Sean Penn ("Milk") and Tom Hanks ("Philadelphia") to win Oscars.

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right" Credit: Focus Features