Oscars explained: 5 reasons why Annette Bening (‘Nyad’) splashed her way into the Best Actress race

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

It was perhaps one of the most notable surprises in any of the major Oscars categories. During the nominations announcement for the 96th Academy Awards, presenter Jack Quaid read the name of Annette Bening in Netflix’s “Nyad” as one of the five candidates for Best Actress of the year.

It hardly came as a complete shock. Bening was treading steadily in sixth place in Gold Derby’s official odds. Still, many pundits had expected her to float and fade away. So how did Bening manage to splash into the most competitive Oscar race? Here are five reasons why.

More from GoldDerby

1. She had what some might consider the most challenging role of any of the acting nominees.
Bening plays Diana Nyad in the film, who at the age of 64 attempts to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark net. How many actors would be willing to accept such a daring and daunting role? Bening spent a year training with an Olympic swimmer to prepare herself. Not only did she have to fully immerse herself in the character of Nyad, she had to immerse herself in the water for hours and days on end. Bening pulled off the task both brilliantly and beautifully. Her fellow actors realized that her achievement was simply undeniable. Watch Gold Derby’s recent interview with Bening.

SEE 2024 Oscar nominations: Full list of contenders in all 23 categories

2. She’s Annette Bening.
She made her first big splash with her electrifying performance in 1990’s “The Grifters,” which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She would continue to work steadily in the decades that followed, picking up three bids for Best Actress along the way. (For 1999’s “American Beauty,” 2004’s “Being Julia” and 2010’s “The Kids Are All Right.”) While the Oscar has never come her way, the respect and admiration of her peers has. Those many admirers in the academy undoubtedly applauded her efforts in “Nyad,” and gave Bening the boost that she needed to enter the final five.

3. She plays a real-life person.
We can never underestimate what a significant factor that is in the lead acting contests. Three of this year’s Best Actor nominees portray real people. Bradley Cooper in “Maestro.” Colman Domingo in “Rustin.” And Cillian Murphy in “Oppenheimer.” Even if it’s not exactly Murphy’s Law, it’s not just a coincidence, either. The academy loves to recognize portrayals of actual individuals. That gave Bening the edge over Margot Robbie in “Barbie,” whom many believe that Bening (inadvertently) pushed aside. When you’re betting on the Oscars, better to go with real people than plastic.

SEE Oscar nominations: How did your favorite films fare?

4. She was singled out at the SAG Awards.
Bening was left woman overboard at both the Critics Choice and BAFTA Awards. With just a Golden Globe nom as her sole precursor, it might have been hard for her to get in at the Oscars. Luckily for her, she was saved by SAG. Her nomination there proved that she had the support of her fellow actors. Without SAG, Bening might have sunk.

5. She and Jodie Foster were practically a package deal.
It’s not easy to earn an Oscar bid if your film is not being considered in any other category. Fortunately, Foster’s role as Nyad’s swimming coach was equally well-received. In fact, Foster seemed more secure in the Best Supporting Actress field than Bening did in the leading one. You might say that Foster and Bening made the perfect team. As Jodie angled for a spot in the Oscar lineup, she was determined to bring Annette along with her. And it was yet another feat accomplished: Bening diving right into the rough waters of the Oscar race for Best Actress.

PREDICT the 2024 Oscar winners through March 10

Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions

Best of GoldDerby

Sign up for Gold Derby's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.