Annette Bening was honored in Hollywood last night by the Entertainment Industry Foundation in front of an A list crowd at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Bening accepted the Nat King Cole award for her work supporting breast cancer research, with husband Warren Beatty, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Rita Wilson (Tom Hanks was AWOL, shooting a movie), plus Tobey Maguire, his wife Jennifer and father in law Ron Meyer (head of Universal Pictures) and Martin Short, whose late wife Nancy was honored with a Courage Award. Annette told me that despite Rob Reiner’s announcement in this column–we were first to report this–of her co-starring with Morgan Freeman in “The Third Act.”
“Apparently some one made an announcement fron Berlin,” Bening told me. “But it was a bit premature.”
On a more serious subject, the elegant Oscar nominee gave a beautiful speech when the time came, pointing out that Nat King Cole was only 45 when he passed away from cancer–and how important it is to keeping raising money for research. She is class all the way. Bening almost teared up during her speech. She may have been thinking about her father, who she told me was just diagnosed with prostate cancer.
It was not a somber evening, however. Emcee Conan O’Brien–filling in for Hanks, who usually hosts what is called “An Unforgettable Evening,” had to fend off good natured heckling from Tom Arnold. O’Brien said he asked Ricky Gervais for advice about hosting the event. “Insult the audience,” O’Brien faked Gervais’s answer. “We won’t be doing that,” he promised.
PS Cee Lo Green was a last minute substitute as the evening’s entertainment. He replaced Rihanna, who wasn’t feeling well and canceled at the last minute.