Clooney, Pitt, Dujardin: It's an Oscar charm offensive

Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:41pm EST
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By Piya Sinha-Roy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood glamour meets French chic in a battle of charm for Oscar's best actor accolade on Sunday that pits George Clooney and close friend Brad Pitt against dashing Jean Dujardin.

Clooney, 50, beloved by his peers and regarded as the most eligible bachelor in the world, is thought to have the edge for his performance as a back-up dad forced to pull his family together in the emotional drama "The Descendants".

But don't count out Dujardin, the French star of silent movie "The Artist", who has happily been spoofing himself and his Hollywood newcomer status on U.S. sketch show "Saturday Night Live" and comedy video website Funny or Die.

"Clooney is in top form and this film, most people felt was the performance of his career," said Tom O'Neil of awards site, noting that Clooney had been campaigning hard in the run-up to the February 26 Academy Awards ceremony.

Clooney won the Golden Globe last month, and has an Oscar under his belt for his supporting role in the 2005 film "Syriana".

But that could work against him. "It's still fresh in people's minds and he's relatively young and still has a career ahead of him. People remember that, and they rarely give Oscars in quick succession," said Stephen Galloway, executive editor of features at industry publication The Hollywood Reporter.

Dujardin, 39, has the opposite problem. A household name in France but unknown in Hollywood, Dujardin utters just two words as silent movie icon George Valentin, who refuses to embrace the talkies in "The Artist."

Nevertheless, he has won a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award for the role and has been the face of "The Artist"s Oscar campaign. If he wins on Sunday, Dujardin would be the first French-born actor to win the Oscar for a lead role.   Continued...

Actor George Clooney arrives for the British Academy of Film and Arts (BAFTA) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House in London   February 12, 2012.    REUTERS/Luke MacGregor