Annette Bening and Julianne Moore both to be campaigned as Best Actress

Image credit: Suzanne Tenner

Move over, Thelma and Louise: Now there’s Nic and Jules. From Focus Features comes official word that the distributor will be campaigning both of its stars of The Kids Are All Right—Annette Bening and Julianne Moore—as Best Actress. When I mentioned this as a possibility last month it was met with disbelief from several of you, who thought Focus would go the Dreamgirls or Chicago route and demote one of them (likely Moore) to the supporting category. But I think this is the right decision. Both actresses have juicy roles and complete character arcs that merit inclusion in the lead category. Sure, Moore would have a better shot at her first Oscar win in supporting, but it would seem disingenuous to campaign her as such. As for Bening, despite her tough competition this year (notably Black Swan‘s Natalie Portman and Blue Valentine‘s Michelle Williams), I’d say she has a decent shot at a victory this time around.

For the record, should Bening and Moore both score nods, it would be the sixth time a movie featured two Best Actress nominees. Here are the others:

Thelma and Louise (1991): Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon
Terms of Endearment (1983): Shirley Maclaine (winner) and Debra Winger
The Turning Point (1977): Anne Bancroft and Shirley Maclaine
Suddenly, Last Summer (1959): Katharine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor
All About Eve (1950): Anne Baxter and Bette Davis

Not bad company to be in, right? Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for more Oscar updates.

Comments (82 total) Add your comment
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  • Carrie #2

    Hey Dave, no disrespect but I think what people were reacting to last time was the possibility that both actresses would EARN nominations, not where they would be eligible. And having seen the film, I think both would, potentially, be Best Actress nominees rather than one in Supporting Actress and one in Best Actress.

    • Carrie #2

      Er, “should,” not would.

  • RCB

    Of course, the other possibilities are they would cancel each other out and both will not be nominated, or even if both are nominated, none of them might win.

  • Nick B

    It’s certainly the right decision to make in the sense that they are both leads in the film. However, should they have pushed one of them for supporting, I think both would have essentially been locks for nominations. The Best Actress race this year is incredibly tight. Maybe both of them will score nods, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them is left out. Anyway, I think this is the right decision and am glad both of them will be submitted as leads.
    I have no ideas who I’ll be rooting for this year. I love both Bening and Moore, and both are far overdue for their Oscar. But I also love Natalie Portman and Michele Williams. And I really like some of the other actresses who are currently enjoying Oscar buzz, like Anne Hathaway and Nicole Kidman. This is going to be a tough race.

    • davey

      Just saw the premiere of Blue Valentine at the TIFF last week – Michelle Williams is very strong (as per usual), however there is a small to almost NO chance she will be getting a nomination. Ryan Gosling is likely the only thing about that movie that could possibly receive an Oscar nomination.
      It would be amazing if both Moore and Bening could get the noms :)

      • Just Curious

        Just wondering, davey, why you think she won’t be getting a nod? Is it because she was completely outacted by Gossling? Was it not an Oscar bait role? Or was it the movie itself that you think harms her chances?

      • Nick B

        It’s good to hear that you think Ryan Gosling has a chance of a nomination. I really like him. And also, since I haven’t yet seen Blue Valentine, what exactly was it that made you think Michelle William’s chances for a nomination are slim? What did you think about the film as a whole? Curious to hear your opinions. :)

    • steely dan

      I agree that just because a movie was good doesn’t mean all the leads should be nominated. I mean, looking at that list of actresses, the other guys were great too.

  • bruno

    i’d love to see julianne moore take an oscar for ANYTHING. she’s just amazing to watch…don’t think it’ll happen here tho. i think you’re right, karves. considering the company, it’s benning’s to lose already…sigh.

  • Danny

    There should have been a seventh – 1977’s “3 Women.”

    • alan of montreal

      what are you talking about? None of the actresses were nominated. Shelley Duvall won the Best Actress award in Cannes that year and received a BAFTA nod and that’s it!

      • Kevin

        That’s why he said “should have.”

  • Jeremy DC

    This is the first time I can remember where the Best Actress race will have more deserving nominees than Best Actor.

  • Bruce L

    Well color me incredulous. I thought the days of two lead-acting nominees for the same movie went out with the first Bush administration, but apparently common sense has prevailed for once.

    Of course, now that “Oscar season” is just beginning, let’s see if the movie can maintain enough traction for either of them to get nominated in the first place…

  • BW

    Even if they campaign both of them for Lead Actress, the Academy could still demote one of them to the Supporting category. It would be not unlike what they did with Kate Winslet – the studio pushed her for Supporting Actress for “The Reader,” but the Academy nominated her for Lead.

  • Damon

    Well is Hilary Swank doing a movie this year? Cuz we know how Anette feels about it would suck if Portman wins for Black Swan..I wanna see that movie so bad now!

    • Damon

      Suck for Anette..who’s long

    • m1

      Swank is in contention for ‘Conviction’ alongside Sam Rockwell, who I think is the frontrunner to win Supp. Actor.

      • mazie beth

        thank you. I’m glad someone else agrees with me for Sam Rockwell…who should have been nominated for his first 8 years ago. as for Bening & Moore, 2 nods in the same catagory spells trouble and yet sounds perfect.

    • dropper

      Heh! In reference to Hilary Swank,I thought the same thing.

    • LS

      I don’t understand the Swank/Bening reference. I get that she’s lost to Swank a lot but does Bening not like her or something? Thanks.

      • Kushagra

        Perhaps it is a scam, but I hope DiCaprio wins (but I have a feeling Forest Whitaker will take the bow for that cagteory). Hopefully Pan’s Labyrinth is as good as the book.Television series: Toss up between Lost and Grey’s Anatomy. I love Heroes, but I’m not sure if its going to win within its first season.Best performance: Definitely Hugh Laurie. The show has an incredibly witty script, it certainly takes someone talented to carry it out.I think my tv addiction is showing a wee too much. Oh well. =D

  • Damon

    OMG..saw the trailer for is a lock..lmao!

  • graeme

    Why is Bening a bigger frontrunner? I enjoyed Moore even more, and she had a bigger role.

  • RyRyNYC

    This all but pushes Natalie Portman into the front-runner position this year. Bening and Moore will cross each other out if both make it into the noms. Williams is still too under appreciated (and not “BIG” enough to compete against a bunch of veterans this Oscar season.) Maybe the competition being so tight this year will result in a real nail biter for the first time since 1999’s season (ironically enough, a Bening nominated year.)

  • Justin

    Am I crazy or did Julianne’s role seem much more prominent than Annette’s?

  • Jax

    I agree that Bening and Moore will probably cancel each other out and that this will allow for Portman to win lead actress. I think that this year’s best actress race will be very tight. Not so much once the nominees are announced but getting onto the final ballot will be the real race. Would love for either Moore or Bening to win (I haven’t seen a movie yet where they didn’t deserve recognition) but that is probably where it will stop: recognition with a nomination. Not a win. Unfortunally, an actor just can’t win up against another in the lead actress category: look at Daves list: only one beat a competitor for Best Actress, and that was because it was Shirley McClaine. Neither Bening or Moore are as popular as McClaine.

  • Jose

    Or they could campaign to get Moore nominated for lead actress and Bening for Supporting Actress since Moore had a much bigger role in the film and made the movie. Anyone know if Mia Wasikowska is still going to try to campaign as best supporting actress?

    And yeah, I agree they they will cancel each other out if they both get nominated. I agree with BW though, the Academy will probably end up pushing one of them to a supporting actress nomination.

    • Mark

      I certainly hope Mia gets a supporting nod, and that’s why I think both Moore and Bening should be in the leading category – it’s fair for them, and much fairer for Mia. I hate years when supporting players compete against a co-star who is more accurately a second lead (Zeta-Jones versus Latifah in “Chicago”, Jessica Lange versus Teri Garr in “Tootsie”, Meryl Streep versus Jane Alexabder in “Kramer Versus Kramer”). All three winners gave great performances, of course, but what ultimately won them the prize was probably their abundant screen time – always the best advantage a contender in the supprting category can have.

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