Annette Bening Says Joe Biden’s ‘Age Is Worrying,’ Blames Slips on Being ‘Caught Off-Guard’

She calls Biden a “phenomenal president,” but finds the concerns about his abilities “nervous-making”

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Actress Annette Bening is known for her passion for politics, but she shared her worry for President Joe Biden’s 2024 election chances in a new interview. “I think he’s been a phenomenal president and I’ve always admired him,” she told the Times of London, noting that she still believes Biden will win — but added, “I think that everyone is concerned.”

“Not because he’s not capable of it, but because of how being in the public eye can be, you get caught off-guard, because his age is worrying,” she said. “I think he will win, yeah. But it’s nervous-making.”

Bening laid the blame for the current political dynamics in the U.S. at the feet of “the Republican leadership that puts up with Donald Trump,” which she described as “really disturbing.”

Biden has been the subject of many questions about his ability to withstand another presidential campaign and a second four-year term in office. A Gallup poll released on Friday showed that Biden’s overall approval rating is 38%. Gallup also noted, “Biden’s approval rating has not risen above 44% since August 2021, and his 39.8% average rating for his third year in office was the second worst among post-World War II presidents elected to their first term.”

However, Gallup went on to add that “extremely low Biden approval ratings from Republicans on everything skew the overall results considerably.”

Elsewhere in her interview, Bening spoke about her fifth Oscar nomination, which she received for “Nyad.” Though she’s been considered a long-shot contender (Bening is up against Sandra Hüller, Carey Mulligan, Emma Stone and favorite Lily Gladstone), her performance in the film as long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad has won her plenty of praise.

Bening said that she insisted on shooting most of the swimming scenes herself and spent a year training with Olympian Rada Owen to prepare for the eight-week shoot. She had two stunt doubles, but usually opted to spend hours in the water.

“Part of [the reason] was that I knew that if someone else got in the water it wouldn’t look right,” she told the outlet. “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, [she shouts] ego!”

While on the topic of the Oscars, Bening shared a story from her first run in 1991, when she was nominated for “The Grifters.” The actress explained that “all the women in my category [Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Ladd, Mary McDonnell and Lorraine Bracco] 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 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.”

“And it was so nice, and so quiet, and was never in the press and no one ever knew about it,” Bening concluded, and noted that that kind of interaction wouldn’t be possible today with the pervasiveness of social media.

As for the role that inspired this year’s nomination, Bening told the outlet that she’s continued to swim daily since picking up the habit for “Nyad.” She’s also stayed in touch with the real-life Nyad herself. Bening concluded, “Because she has such an interest in living life so fully, and I do love that about her. And I do want to live like that myself.”

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