October 23, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

George Clooney talks aging, being a “character actor” – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Brad Pitt mentioned it in a recent EW.com cover story: He was glad to be past the “pretty face” stage of his career because he found aging more interesting.

There’s a “Benjamin Button” joke in there somewhere. But his comments shine a light on a distinct problem still plaguing Hollywood. How do actors continue to find engaging parts as they grow older? Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood and Robert Redford moved behind the camera. Other stars began producing passion projects in an effort to carve out memorable parts.

In this week’s Parade cover story, “Ides of March” and “Descendants” star George Clooney addressed the issue with his trademark brand of self-deprecating humor, calling himself “a character actor” at this stage of his career.

“I look at myself onscreen and go, ‘I don’t look like I did when I was 40 — I know that,'” Clooney said. “The people I’ve respected most in the industry over the years — Paul Newman, for instance. I just loved the way he handled growing old onscreen.”

But those who’ve seen Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” — specifically Clooney’s layered performance as a disheveled yet well-meaning father — also understand that the actor probably couldn’t have delivered as compelling a performance had he tried to play Matt King, say, 10 years ago. The actor’s life experiences continue to inform his decisions in front of the camera. He knows when to be quiet, when to rise up to a scene, and when to listen to the actors in his scene.

Clooney’s work behind the camera, which started in 2002 with the underrated “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” probably also has helped him refine his acting techniques. But at this stage, as evidenced with his fantastic political drama “The Ides of March,” Clooney’s also just an outstanding talent scout, and he’s great at picking strong support in key roles.

As for “Ides,” Clooney revealed to Parade why he had to wait to get the film in front of audiences.

“We were in preproduction on this film in 2007, before the Obama election,” he said. “And then we realized that a good portion of the country was elated with what happened in that election, so we had to shelve the movie until people were cynical again.

“I didn’t think it would be quite this quick,” he added with a laugh.

“Ides” will be in theaters on Oct. 7.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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