Her four kids with husband Warren Beatty are all out of the house now, and “I really miss them, quite frankly,” Annette Bening told Closer Weekly at the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of her film Hope Gap. “I get that they’re adults, and they want to be off in their lives — I love that, and I’m really proud of them. I try to get them to text me as often as possible, which doesn’t always work,” she adds with a laugh.

Luckily, Annette, 61, has plenty to keep her busy, like a thriving career. She’s earning awards-season buzz for her role as Senator Dianne Feinstein in the drama The Report (out November 15), about the investigation into torture by U.S. troops during the George W. Bush administration. Will she finally win an Oscar after four previous nominations? “I’ve been around this business for a while,” she says philosophically. “I do the work and put it out there and see what happens.”

Annette Bening at the TIFF Premiere of 'The Report'
Todd Williamson/January Images/Shutterstock

She’s also enjoying time at home with Warren, 82, and their dog. “We got her as a puppy, and she’s a doll,” Annette shares. “She’s huge now, and we love taking her on walks.”

Those aren’t her only companions. “In this new stage of life, you can connect with your women friends in a deeper way,” says Annette. “I’ve got some friends that I’ve had since I was a little girl and people from acting school that I’m still very close with. We have dinner with wine and talk and laugh.”

Annette also remains close with her parents, Arnett, 93, and Shirley, 89. “They’re wonderful people, and my siblings and I spend a lot of time with them,” says Annette, the youngest of four. “We have a big, extended family, and we get together when we can.”

The clan has always been tightly knit. “My parents were always very supportive,” says Annette, who didn’t land her first film role (in 1988’s Dan AykroydJohn Candy comedy The Great Outdoors) until she was 30. “They never told me not to do what I was doing.”

Annette Bening and Warren Beatty in 'Bugsy'

By continuing to live her dream, Annette hopes to set a good example for her own kids: Stephen, 27, Benjamin, 25, Isabel, 22, and Ella, 19. “I feel really lucky that I’m able to pursue the work that I love, and I want my children to see that,” she says. “I want them to have that for themselves, something that they love, that they do, that they pursue in their lives as a way of growing and learning.”

And even though her kids have left the nest, Annette maintains an unbreakable bond with them. “There’s love for your parents, your family, your spouse, your partner, your friends, but the nature of the connection you have with your children, there’s nothing like it,” she says. “It has its own character — it’s so serious and so powerful, and it’s a prism through which I see everything.”

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Reporting by Diana Cooper