The Ocean's Eleven star will follow in the footsteps of previous recipients including Sean Penn, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Quentin Tarantino, and 2016's honouree Michael Douglas when he collects the top accolade at the Cesar Awards in Paris on 24 February (17).

"The most charismatic actor of his generation, George Clooney embodies the Hollywood glamour that big cinema stars have," a statement issued by officials at the Academy of Arts and Techniques of Cinema, the organisation behind the annual prizegiving, reads. "His charm, sense of humour, personality and engagement are at the heart of our perpetual and eternal admiration."

The award will also celebrate Clooney's "dazzling talent as an actor, director, scriptwriter and producer - and above all, his artistic and spiritual generosity".

The news emerges days after controversial director Roman Polanski stepped down as ceremony president after his invitation sparked a backlash among fans. A lawyer for the Rosemary's Baby filmmaker, who is wanted in America for unlawful sex with a minor in the 1970s, announced his decision to decline the role in late January (17), insisting that while the uproar over his involvement was unjustified, he did not want to "disturb" the show after women's rights activists threatened to stage protests outside the event.

Paul Verhoeven's Elle and Francois Ozon's Frantz lead the nominees heading into the 42nd Cesar Awards with 11 nods each.