George Clooney is winning all the plaudits in Hollywood for his turn as a wealthy land baron attempting to reconnect with his daughters following the death of his wife. The 50-year-old is the bookmakers favorite to land the Best Actor gong at next year's Oscars, with filmmaker Alexander Payne also tipped to win the director's prize.
Hype surrounding the movie has been bubbling since it was announced Payne, director of the acclaimed Sideways, had lured Clooney to play the lead. Many fans of the director had assumed it was impossible to match his last flick, which followed two friends around California's wine country, but critics have heralded 'The Descendants' as a modern classic that is likely to win big throughout the 2012 awards seasons. Wall Street Journal critic Joe Morgenstern is leading praise for the movie, writing, "More than a month remains before 2011 checks out, and I've yet to see several promising films that December will bring. For now, though, The Descendants is the best movie of the year". Speaking at the premiere of the film in Beverly Hills on Tuesday (November 14, 2011), Clooney joked about going up against Twilight: Breaking Dawn this weekend, saying, "There's a lot of talk that we're going to beat them.We are going against Breaking Dawn, but the big headlines come Monday morning will be, Descendants Kicks the Hell Out of Breaking Dawn".
Although Clooney and The Descendants are likely to take the awards next year, he may be fighting a losing battle against Twilight - the latest instalment is expected to take $140 million at the box office this weekend.