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Why I'm picking Clooney for the upset

February 23, 2008 |  8:42 am

"There's no way Daniel Day-Lewis won't win," George Clooney told The Envelope during a video interview at the Oscar nominee luncheon and recently insisted to Time. That's what all the pundits (save one cliff-jumper) believe, but I remind you that he also predicted he'd lose in the supporting slot when up against Paul Giamatti ("Cinderella Man"). And all of the pundits have been wrong before, like they were the last time they insisted that Daniel Day-Lewis ("Gangs of New York") would win for a different sinister role after he swept the precursor awards.

However, jawdroppers happen all the time at the Oscars. (Remember when the wrong Richard — Dreyfuss — beat Burton?) If they didn't, we bloggers would be out of biz and the Oscars no fun to watch.


The reason that the shockeroos occur is because Hollywooders are a bull-headed, contrary-minded lot and often they don't tip their cards. They also don't like to admit that they're going against the pack — everybody's got to be a team player, after all — but, alone at home where no one is looking and with sly smirks on their faces, they fool Oscarwatchers now and then by checking off their ballots for Marcia Gay Harden or Juliette Binoche. 

I think there's a fascinating hint of the Clooney upset to be spotted in the videos of two alleged academy voters, those reelgeezers who blabbed their voting preferences on YouTube.

It's clear they don't think much of Day-Lewis' ham-boning in "There Will Be Blood" — bashing it with scowls and derision — but, strangely, they don't tell us who they're going to vote for instead, as they do in most other categories. They really don't need to. Throughout the videos, they swoon, gush and giggle with delight over every mention of "Michael Clayton" (which, mind you, has seven head-scratching nominations, including best picture) and George Clooney.

Just like the rest of Hollywood. He's the ultra-cool kid in a Clooney-crazy town, the most beloved swashbuckler since Jack Nicholson, who holds the record for most wins by a male actor (three). Clooney's never lost an acting award and has never before been nominated in lead. We don't know his secret voting strength across the whole academy electorate once this matinee star has managed to snag a bid from the snobs in the acting branch.


Sure, Clooney must defy the Slap the Stud Syndrome, but rare others have, like the also-jaunty Russell Crowe back in the days when everyone thought him hip. Usually, the studs have to wait till their hair is as gray as Paul Newman's was when he beat Day-Lewis' equivalent: another Brit (Bob Hoskins in "Mona Lisa") who won every — and I mean every — walk-up award. (P.S. Notice the current color of Clooney's locks? Good enough?)

Lastly, you naysayers cry: but it's obvious that Day-Lewis' performance is so superior to Clooney walking through "Clayton!" Of course, but how many times do I have to tell you? They are not voting on the best flicks and perfs of the year. The greatest actor who ever lived went to his grave as Oscar's biggest loser (Burton — seven defeats), leaving behind on this planet the likes of Goldie Hawn with a chunk of academy gold. Voters are telling us who they like and who they don't, who's in the club and who's out. In their minds, Clooney is president of the club. Can they resist the chance to cast their vote for him?

And since I can never resist a chance to beat up on "The Hours," let me cite the other example I like most to flog. Nobody gave Nicole Kidman an Oscar for one scene in a plastic nose in a movie called the worst of the year by Time, New York Daily News and Newsday. They were welcoming her into the club as a solo star and desperately wanted to give her a hug after busting up with Tom Cruise.

Nowadays, Clooney is the chap they'd most like to embrace.

I realize that this prediction must seem like I should be locked up with Britney Spears, but someday soon we're going to see another Oscar win beamed in from Neptune. Of all the possibilities this year, this one would make the most sense. Not logically, but Hollywood "sense." And because I'm as much of a daredevil as Clooney, I'm calling it.

The comments to this entry are closed.


George clooney is not gonna win. You just wanna tell everyone that you call it right but you are gonna be wrong. LIke the sweeney todd thing all year. You just hate DDL.


Actually he didn't sweep precursors in '03, he split them with Nicholson. He swept this time, just like Whitaker did last year. Tsk Tsk.

I seriously doubt a Clooney upset. Don't get me wrong, he was great in "Michael Clayton"; I just saw the movie two days agop, and there was a two hour period when I really thought his performance was better than that of Daniel Day-Lewis', but then I began to re-run "There Will Be Blood" in my mind and I began to feel guilty about those thoughts. All of the BEST ACTOR nominees this year were incredible (well with exception of Mortensen: I'd have prefered Hirsch), but Lewis was just in a totally diffrerent league. They both have Oscars, but I would be floored if anyone else but Lewis got up on OScar night.

Tom, I really think you just like to be contrary and stir up readership on your blog. How pathetic.

Anyway, I'll remind you again that last year you predicted Peter O'Toole to win and Leonardo DiCaprio to upset when everyone else was predicting Forest Whitaker.

And this year you predicted Sweeney to sweep all major categories. And all it got in the major categories was Johnny Depp.

I think you have some interesting things to say sometimes and many of your predictions are right on. But you make some stupid calls like everyone else. Betting against Whitaker last year was one of them. We'll see if you do better this year. Then you can pat yourself on the back and tell everyone that you're the genius.

"Clooney's never lost an acting award" is such a misleading thing to say, Tom. He's been nominated for an Oscar ONCE and happened to win. You make it sound as if he's been nominated several times and always wins. You'll be proven wrong on Oscar night. If DDL, for some crazy reason, doesn't win, Johnny Depp will.

The Academy may be crazy, but they'd need to be strapped down if they chose Clooney.

And the Nicole Kidman thing is tricky. I used to love her and am always fascinated by her creative choices, even if they haven't been the right ones for the past several years. She definitely deserved her Oscar for The Hours, even in a competitive year. Julianne Moore was sublime, but the film had less support as it is (I don't care if those mags hated The Hours, it was Best Picture nominated and had broad director, screenplay, and acting support). And Moore was a little, well, not flat, but the idea of Nicole's *acting* compared to the other women's just performing sealed the deal. And yes, they wanted to reward her for her previous work, her beauty, her broken marriage, and her class. They, like I, also probably thought she would have a consistently prolific career since. Too bad.

I think the latest issue of Time has Clooney on the cover as 'The Last Movie Star', so people are clearly bedazzled by him.

Having said that, I don't think he'll pull off an upset. If anyone's going to do that, it's Depp, and even that won't happen.


If you end up being right and Clooney wins, I will eat my hat. And drink your milkshake. I would sooner bet my life than anticipate an upset, that's how confident I am. Besides, I have always thought Day-Lewis deserved a second Oscar, since BEFORE Gangs of New York, and what better way to reward him than for another Best Picture nominee and, this time, a showier performance?

But honestly, let's focus on the difficult categories. Why so much anticipation of DDL upset when too many people are still predicting Julie Christie even though I see a strong corral of support for Marion Cotillard evident on the faces and in the words of many Academy members?

I'd also quietly point out that Clooney won an Oscar just two short years ago... while it's been nearly 20 since Day-Lewis's win. That has bearing here, and goes a lot to mitigate those "past upsets" you mentioned. Newman had never won an Oscar before he beat Hoskins, despite a slew of nominations and a permanent place in the Hollywood pantheon. Brody's win for The Pianist was certainly an upset, but again, he hadn't won before. Clooney has, and within recent memory (even by Hollywood's Lethe-like standards). Of course an upset is possible this year, but Clooney's already been crowned king of the Show Biz prom... and the chance of a double-dip isn't enough to offset the strength of Day-Lewis's performance.

Tom, I really like your post and particularly this statement: "Voters are telling us who they like and who they don't, who's in the club and who's out." It’s not secret for anyone, we all know that or at least suspect it, but it is nice that is said out in the open once in while. I'm sure it's basically the same for all award groups but it seems a bit more obvious with the Oscars than with other organisations… Hollywood is a business, let's keep that in mind. I think it is time that the media starts referring to other awards as well as the Oscars when talking about the success and/or quality of various films.

Tom, I saw both movies and there is no comparison. DDL attacks this role like no other actor this year. Hes mesmerizing as he goes from opportunistic oil baron to stark raving mad murderer.

But then again Tom you predicted the whole ball of wax for "Sweeney Todd" and it didn't even get nominated.

I think that all of you DDL and Clooney supporters are WRONG!!!

i really hope i can laugh at u tom o'neal win DDL get the oscar....he so deserves a second oscar before George Clooney,..

again, bloggers like u just trying to stir things up, but i really can't wait to see ur face on tv when DDL wins and u'll have to announce it on some show on CNN.

To call Richard Burton the greatest actor who lived is the rough equivalent of calling, I don't know, Gary Sheffield the greatest baseball player of all time: fun for a lark, but categorically untrue. Burton was an unsubtle ham who ruined himself early and completely with drink.

Unless you start reporting of "surveys" and "loud vocal support," I'm not buying it.

If you remember correctly, Daniel Day Lewis lost the GG to Jack Nicholson. This year, Day Lewis has SWEPT almost everything a la Helen Mirren. There is no way they will give Clooney 2 Oscars for acting before Day Lewis has his 2. Its just not sane.

I just think sometimes you get too over your head. I think you like to go against people, and it usually never works.

I have an idea! Put your money were your mouth is and go bet on a few websites. You WILL win tons of money since Clooney is at 10/1 in most booking sites! Daniel Day Lewis is at 1/15! Come on Tom. Go and put $100 on Clooney and prove us wrong.

Sorry dude, not gonna happen!!!

"Nobody gave Nicole Kidman an Oscar for one scene in a plastic nose in a movie called the worst of the year by Time, New York Daily News and Newsday. They were welcoming her into the club as a solo star and desperately wanted to give her a hug after busting up with Tom Cruise. "

The stupidest thing I ever read in years. Nicole before The Hours starred in two great movies: Moulin Rouge and The Others. I'm sick to so blamed Nicole Kidman. She's a great actress, and this year she desrved a nom for Margot At The Wedding.



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