As has become somewhat customary in the past five or six years, George Clooney is likely to find himself in the Awards mix once again in 2011. The newly-celebrated quinquagenarian has two healthy-looking projects set for release in the later months: Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," and his own fourth directorial venture, "The Ides of March."
"The Descendants" is the story of an estranged father, who attempts to re-connect with his two daughters when their mother is fatally injured in an accident - which is likely to resurrect themes Payne explored in 2002's "About Schmidt" (namely, grief and personal crisis). Nevertheless, this film's cast is considerably younger, which might suggest that "The Descendants" represents a fresher take on familial struggle that doesn't focus too much on mortality. I wasn't much of a fan of "Schmidt," or indeed Jack Nicholson as its leading man, but many were enthused with what Payne did with the film, and it gained some major awards attention.
First clip from "The Descendants":
|Ryan Gosling and George Clooney on the set of "The Ides of March"|
"Ides" is slated for October, while "The Descendants" is scheduled for a release in December, meaning that either/or is likely to make it to Venice or Toronto to build awards buzz. It could be that Clooney finds himself nominated for Director, Actor, and Supporting Actor (which would be one-up from 2005's achievements), but as with all Oscar prognostication at this early stage, it's far too easy to say. "Ides" feels more likely to succeed given that it's political and probably more mainstream than Alexander Payne's soul-bearing projects tend to be. One thing that is for sure: both are definitely encouraging for their respective leading actors.