December 08, 2016

Oscars: Can George Clooney upset Jean Dujardin in the Best Actor category? – AWARDS ALLEY


By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: With the Oscars on the horizon, only a handful of races remain up in the air … at least, if you pay attention to the “experts.”

Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” appears to be this year’s Best Picture frontrunner, with momentum still swinging between “The Descendants” and “The Help.” Martin Scorsese could steal a few key votes away from Hazanavicius in the Best Director race. And if you put your ear to the ground, you’ll hear more than a few people asking if George Clooney can prevail over Jean Dujardin in the Best Actor category.

Why not? Clooney is beloved, and few are better on the Oscar campaign trail than the endlessly charming actor. He’s also won a few choice awards along the way, from the Critics Choice Movie Awards for Best Actor to a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama. Tide seems to be sweeping up Dujardin as “The Artist” marches to the podium, and Dujardin – as well as his winning co-star Berenice Bejo – are working the circuit. Hard. So anything’s possible.

Clooney’s performance in Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” has stood above the fray from the minute this rewarding drama world premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September.

“There’s plenty to chew on regarding family connections, heritage, loyalty to one’s location in life, the cycles we go through when confronting death, and the challenge of being a stable force during trying times,” I wrote from the Toronto International Film Festival after seeing Payne’s film. “But Clooney’s an outstanding guide on this journey, and I’m confident we’ll see his name in the Best Actor race as the marathon continues.”

“The Descendants” is a special film. An honest film. It addresses personal issues, and offsets them with Payne’s quirky humor. And it boasts a jaw-dropping performance by Clooney, who somehow ignores every trick in his acting arsenal yet still wins our heart with a vulnerable side that solidifies him as one of our strongest working actors.

If you ask him, though, he’s just lucky.

That was Clooney’s message when he accepted the Hollywood Actor Award for his “Descendants” performance in October. It’s an extremely humble speech, one laced with wit and self-awareness. Just like the man, himself.

Here’s exclusive video of Clooney from that gala, as his latest film, “The Descendants,” competes for the Oscar.

Awards Alley brings you the best Oscar coverage. Click below to read our exclusive interviews with:
Harvey Weinstein
– The cast of “The Artist.”
Kenneth Branagh for “My Week With Marilyn.”
Bennett Miller talks “Moneyball.”
– Producer Jim Burke for “The Descendants.”
Sir Ben Kingsley and Chloe Grace Moretz for “Hugo.”
Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
David Fincher, Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for “The Help.”
Tate Taylor for “The Help.”
Woody Harrelson for “Rampart.”
Gavin O’Connor for “Warrior.”
Gary Oldman and Colin Firth for “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”
Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody for “Young Adult.”
Steve McQueen for “Shame.”
Glenn Close for “Albert Nobbs.”
Seth Rogen and Will Reiser for “50/50.”
– Producer Grant Heslov for “The Ides of March.”

For complete Oscar and Film Festival coverage, visit our Awards Alley for the latest news items, reviews and interviews all season long.

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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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One Comment

  • February 8, 2012 | Permalink |

    “The Descendants” opened in Telluride. We were 5 rows back when George, Alexander, and Shailene Woodley did their first post screening interview. George is George, smart and funny. The other two played Gracie Allen to his George Burns.The film is wonderful. George should win.

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