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Annette Bening Reveals Secret Oscars Deal With Her Fellow Nominees

It could be fifth time lucky for Annette Bening as she heads to this year’s Oscars with yet another nomination – this time for Best Actress for her role in Nyad.

Bening has on four previous occasions left the ceremony empty-handed, but she remembers fondly her first Oscars in 1991, when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for The Grifters.

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The actress told The Times of London that all the women in her category – Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Ladd, Mary McDonnell and Lorraine Bracco – got together prior to the presentation and cut a deal.

Bening recounted:

“We got together in a little huddle and we said, ‘All right, let’s all have dinner next week and whoever wins pays.’ And so Whoopi Goldberg won [for Ghost] and she sent us each a flower arrangement and a card that said, ‘Meet at such and such a restaurant next week at a certain time.’ And we all showed up, and had dinner, and she gave us a chocolate Oscar and a gardenia.”

Asked why the story never made it to the press at the time, Bening reflected on the change between then and now: “The technology has exploded and there’s just so much space out there on the internet that needs to be filled up with stuff. Back then it was considered bad form to promote yourself, and now it’s considered bad form if you don’t.”

This year, Bening is an outsider in the Best Actress category for her role of endurance swimmer Diana Nyad who, in 2013 at the age of 64, swam the 110-mile journey from Havana, Cuba, to Key West in Florida.

Bening spent a year training for the role, working with US Olympic swimmer Rada Owen to look convincing on screen. And she told The Times she mostly refused the help of stunt doubles during production:

“Part of it was that I knew that if someone else got in the water it wouldn’t look right. We all know how it is when you watch something and think, ‘It’s just not that person.’ You can tell, and I didn’t want that. But it’s also a case of ‘this is mine — I have to do this’. It’s, like, ego!”

Nyad is now available on Netflix. The Oscars will take place March 10th.

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