He’s not nominated yet, but he is the favourite to take home a Golden Globe next week and that’ll increase his odds a fair bit.
His trophy room does of course already have an Oscar sitting somewhere. He won the Best Supporting Actor gong for 2005’s Syriana. For that role, he grew a big grey beard and put on about 15kg. For The Descendants, he’ll be up for Best Actor (leading role) and looks like the Clooney that women the world over would drop kick their partners for.
He plays a fifty-something, married father of two who’s suddenly dealing with a comatose wife after she’s involved in a nasty boating accident. Of course, it couldn’t come at a worse time; he’s a property magnate about to sell a fair chunk of one of the Hawaiian Islands that has been in his family for centuries. The deal is worth millions of dollars and will bring his countless family members out of a post-GFC struggle. Understandably, his head is not 100% in the game. And the cause isn’t helped with the news that his wife had been having an affair for the past six months. It literally turns his life upside down and soon he swaps crossing t’s and dotting i’s for stalking (or at least, trying to stalk) his wife’s bloke on the side.
It doesn’t all go according to plan and he spends most of the movie wondering if he’s doing the right thing; both with the other guy and the land sale. It’s a story and role that gives the Cloonster plenty to work with. More than a few critics have called it the best performance of his career. I almost feel guilty that I don’t immediately agree with them. He is very good (and once you see one of his final scenes, you’ll understand why) but I find it hard to get past the “George Clooney” look. Maybe that’s an amateur thought. Maybe a more professional one would be, that it’s hard to compare it against either of his last two nominated performances, in Michael Clayton and Up In The Air.
The biggest winner is probably Shailene Woodley. She’s play’s Clooney’s daughter and has also scored herself a Golden Globe nomination; something far out of reach in her regular job, TV’s Secret Life Of The American Teenager. The only problem I have with her, and I feel like such a prude saying this, but character swears so much. I get she's supposed to be this rebellious teen, but the f-bomb gets thrown around beyond all meaning…and I love the f-bomb!
On the whole, The Descendants is pretty good. I don’t know if it quite deserves to be called the year’s best, but isn’t out of line being up there somewhere.