Annette Bening with her pudding pot.

Annette Bening gets a Hasty kiss after earning her Pudding Pot.

Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

Campus & Community

‘Not thrilled, not delighted, not even grateful’

Annette Bening gave as good as she got as Hasty Pudding’s Woman of the Year 

3 min read

Annette Bening, Hasty Pudding Theatrical’s 74th Woman of the Year, immediately set the tone for her celebratory roast this week.

“Of all the honors I’ve received, this has meant the least,” the actor said, eliciting surprised laughter from the audience. “I am not thrilled, I am not delighted, and I’m not even grateful.”

Hasty Pudding President Josh Hillers ’24 and Vice President Nikita Nair ‘24 shot right back while applauding Bening’s 35-year career and the millions of fans she’s garnered across the globe.

“And some of them are still alive!” Hillers exclaimed.

Bening is a Tony Award and five-time Academy Award nominee, a two-time Golden Globe winner, and a Screen Actors Guild Award winner. Known for her “iconic” performances in “The Grifters” and “American Beauty,” as well as her Oscar-nominated role in “Nyad,” Hasty Pudding members described her as a “truly unique and impactful presence” in the entertainment landscape.

Bening’s roast was Tuesday evening at Farkas Hall, the Hasty Pudding’s home since 1888. Earlier in the day, she participated in a parade through Harvard Yard and a tour of Farkas Hall, where she was serenaded by the Krokodiloes.

To earn her Pudding Pot, Bening had to complete a series of tasks, ranging from dancing with the Pudding’s bedazzled synchronized swimming team to styling a Pudding member with her very own signature pixie cut to performing the part of the seagull from her 2018 film “The Seagull.”

“Cah, Cah, SQUAWWWKK!” she shrieked onstage while wearing a feathered headpiece, only to have an Annette Bening lookalike — played by Pudding member Bernardo de Moura Sequeira ’26 — win an Oscar for his performance.

Established in 1951, the Woman of the Year Award has been awarded to an impressive list of entertainers. Bening will join the likes of Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington, and, most recently, Jennifer Coolidge who have earned this prestigious honor.

 “My dream has come true,” she said after receiving her Pudding Pot. “I would like to thank starting with my kindergarten teacher — [actually] I did it all myself, with no one’s help.”

At a press conference after the theatrics, Bening spoke graciously about the honor. She reflected on her career and said that Hollywood’s understanding of women is growing. That shift has led to more nuanced portrayals of women on screen that capture the breadth of their actual lived experiences, she said.

“A strong woman is also a flawed woman, is also a woman with weaknesses and vulnerabilities,” Bening said. “It’s not a question of [creating] just strong women’s roles; it’s real women, and that’s what we want.”

Actor Barry Keoghan was honored as Hasty’s Man of the Year on Feb. 4.