Harvard announces Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year to Oscar nominated actress

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Annette Bening, a two-time Golden Globe winner who recently received her fifth Oscar nomination, was feted Tuesday with a raucous parade full of colorful costumes and drag performers as part of festivities honoring her as Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals 2024 Woman of the Year.

A few hours later, Benning endured a celebrity roast before attending a performance of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 175th production, “Heist Heist Baby.”

She joined a group of synchronized swimmers on stage doing swim strokes to the song “Pump Up the Jams,” a reference to her role in the swimming movie “Nyad.” Then, she cut the hair of a volunteer in an effort to give him her signature look. And then she donned a seagull costume and acted out the role of the sea bird, a reference her role in the movie version of Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” squawking and waving her arms.

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“I did it all myself with no one’s help,” Benning joked, after accepting the traditional pudding pot and trying to start a speech by thanking her kindergarten teacher. Her husband, Warren Beatty, won the man of the year award in 1975.

Annette Bening

Annette Bening was named Harvard University’s 2024 Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year for theatricals.  (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Pudding is the oldest theatrical organization in the nation and one of the oldest in the world. Since 1951, it has bestowed this award annually on women “who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment.” Other winners have included Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Coolidge.

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Festivities began with the parade at Harvard. Bening, wearing a brown coat, hat and sunglasses, blew kisses to the crowd, and at one point, was pecked on both cheeks by drag performers. As the parade ended, she launched into a can-can dance with several other people.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to honor Annette Bening in this milestone 175th anniversary year for the Hasty Pudding,” said Josh Hillers, the organization’s president. “Hot off her Oscars nomination for Best Actress, we’re excited to present her with the most prestigious award in the entertainment industry.”

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Bening, who also has won a Screen Actors Guild Award and starred in “The Grifters” and “American Beauty,” earned her fifth Oscar nomination, this one for best actress, for playing the prickly long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad in the movie “Nyad.”

Barry Keoghan, best known for his roles in “Saltburn,” “Dunkirk,” “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” “Eternals” and “The Banshees of Inisherin,” is the recipient of its 2024 Man of the Year Award. He will be honored Friday night.

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