AFI Fest will honour actress Annette Bening with a tribute and centrepiece gala on November 16. The tribute will include a conversation with the actress followed by a screening of the upcoming 20th Century Women.
In 20th Century Women, from writer-director Mike Mills (Beginners), Bening plays Dorothea Fields, a single mother in her mid-50s raising an adolescent son in 1979 Santa Barbara. The film co-stars Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup and Lucas Jade Zumann. The movie opens in the US on December 25.
“Annette Bening is a modern-day icon of American cinema,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, director of AFI Fest, in a statement.
“She brings her characters to life with an emotional intelligence that is luminous and powerful. In 20th Century Women she finds one of her richest roles yet, delivering a strong performance that anchors the film’s terrific ensemble cast.”
A four-time Academy Award nominee — for her performances in The Grifters, American Beauty, Being Julia and The Kids Are All Right — Bening has also appeared in such films as Valmont, Bugsy, The American President and Ginger & Rosa. Bening also has a supporting role in AFI Fest’s opening-night film, Rules Don’t Apply, directed by her husband, Warren Beatty.
Mills’ previous film, Beginners, was something of a portrait of his father and garnered an Oscar for actor Christopher Plummer. Mills has already spoken of 20th Century Women as similarly an abstracted take on his mother, though the season shall see if it nets the same end result for Bening. The distributor of 20th Century Women is A24, the company that also released Room, which earlier this year earned a Best Actress Oscar for Brie Larson.
AFI Fest runs from November 10-17. Also previously announced was a tribute to actress Isabelle Huppert followed by a centrepiece screening of Paul Verhoeven’s Elle.