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Clooney plays down Oscar prospects

George Clooney in Syriana

Story by Jack Foley

OSCAR nominated actor and director George Clooney has played down his chances of Oscar success, despite being strongly tipped for his role as a CIA agent in political drama Syriana.

Speaking at the Berlin Film Festival, where he is currently promoting the political thriller, Clooney predicted that he wouldn’t win any.

Clooney could land three Oscars in total, having been nominated as best supporting actor (for Syriana), best director and best screenplay (for Goodnight, and Good Luck).

But while both films have won widespread critical praise, the star is keen that they reach the widest audience possible, irrespective of awards.

“The hope is that people will see this film – I don’t know about wins,” he told journalists in Berlin. “There’s been a lot of Brokeback Mountain stuff – so maybe we should have made them cowboys!”

Syriana is a political thriller written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, a previous Academy Award winner for Traffic in 2000, that examines US involvement in the Middle East and the oil industry.

It tackles relevant issues head-on and despite being difficult to understand in places, has won widespread respect throughout the industry. Indeed, it is leading the new wave of films that tackle political issues.

Ironically, Gaghan has also been nominated for a best screenplay award, placing him in direct competition with his star, Clooney, who has been selected for Goodnight, and Good Luck.

But he also played down awards talk, insisting that the decision to make the film was inspired by the need to address and examine current events.

“We felt this shift to the right and the language felt very sharp and scary – the language of black and white, evil-doers and Americans,” he explained.

Clooney was all too willing to get behind the themes of the film, despite having to gain 35 pounds in weight for his role. He firmly believes that cinema should reflect broader concerns about events in the real world, in the same way as it did in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

“I don’t really think films lead the way,” he added. “But while we have the opportunity to push and ask questions, we’re going to push and ask questions. We’re not really trying to supply answers.”

Syriana opens in UK cinemas on March

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