The world is still dealing with the fact that Glenn Close didn’t win an Oscar last year—after seven nominations—but she’s not the only actress in the always-a-bridesmaid boat. Closely trailing Close in the stats is Annette Bening, who has been nominated four times , landing her in a tie with several others, including her husband Warren Beatty, for third on the list of living actors most nominated without a win. (Close tops the list while Amy Adams is second.) And if buzz is any indication, Bening might just rack up her fifth nomination for her performance in The Report.
In the ripped-from-the-headlines political thriller, Bening plays California Senator Diane Feinstein, who sends her staffer Daniel J. Jones, played by Adam Driver, to uncover the truth about the C.I.A.’s use of torture. The 6,000 page report Jones compiled (of which only 525 pages were ever released to the public) uncovered the full extent of the C.I.A.’s use of waterboarding, anal force feeding, routine threats of rape and murder, forcing detainees to stay awake for over a week, and making them stand or stay in a coffin-sized box for hours and days at a time. A chilling reality that this country still hasn’t fully dealt with (Donald Trump’s handpicked C.I.A. Director Gina Haspel oversaw one of the sites where such torture occurred), it’s also the kind of heavy subject that matter that makes it seem frivolous to frame a post on it’s trailer as merely an awards contender.
Still, since the movie premiered at Sundance earlier this year’s it’s generated considerable buzz. Amazon Studios snapped up the film for a reported $14 million, and there’s been much hype about Bening’s performance specifically.
“Nowhere is the balance of idealism and practicality, valor and hard-headedness, more exquisitely embodied than in Annette Bening’s superb performance as Dianne Feinstein. From her beauty-shop hair to her iron-lady gaze to her voice of delicate will, Bening is note-perfect,” wrote Variety. “But she also makes Feinstein a ticklish study in how power works, at its best, in Washington — as a game of survival that filters the right thing to do through the art of the possible.”
“As Feinstein, Bening is superb, nailing both her physicality and line delivery while avoiding any sort of broad caricature,” added The Guardian.
Driver, too, has received acclaim. “Burdened with such a surfeit of explication to download via dialogue, the cast is set a challenge to get it across with naturalism, laying it down like they know what they’re talking about,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter. “Fortunately, all are up to the job, especially Driver, who has already proved a master at conveying nervy intelligence and barely suppressed rage.”
The film, directed by Scott Z. Burns and also featuring John Hamm, Maura Tierney, and Michael C. Hall, is scheduled for a November 15th release.