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Oscar nominations: Clooney, Jean Dujardin among best actor picks

January 24, 2012 |  5:57 am

 George Clooney is among Oscar nominees for 'The Descendants.'

George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt and Demian Bichir are the nominees for lead actor at the 84th Academy Awards, it was announced Tuesday morning.

Heading into the race, Clooney, who took home a Golden Globe last week for his starring turn in Alexander Payne's family drama (and best picture nominee) "The Descendants," appears to be the front-runner.

The 50-year-old actor-writer-director-producer earns his third lead actor nomination for his role as Matt King, a middle-aged man trying to become a better father after his wife suffers a grave injury in a boating accident. Clooney also received an Oscar nomination Tuesday morning for adapted screenplay for the political drama “The Ides of March,” which he directed.

FULL COVERAGE: The Oscars

French actor Dujardin, however, might be able to unseat Clooney in the category. The 39-year-old Parisian star of best picture nominee "The Artist" is a first-time Oscar nominee for lead actor as George Valentin, a silent screen superstar whose career falls apart with the advent of the talkies. Last year, he won best actor at the Cannes Film Festival for the black-and-white silent movie and he’s also received a Golden Globe for lead actor in a motion picture comedy or musical.

Brad Pitt earns his second lead actor nomination, this one for his portrayal of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane in the baseball drama "Moneyball" (another best picture nominee) while veteran British actor Oldman picks up his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of ace spy George Smiley in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."

Perhaps the most surprising inclusion on the list was Demian Bichir for the little-seen film "A Better Life." The Mexican actor who immigrated to the United States some 20 years ago to pursue English-language roles played an East L.A. gardener, an undocumented immigrant who’s doggedly pursuing the American dream. Bichir was also nominated for a SAG award for his performance.

The Oscars will be handed out Feb. 26 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. ABC will broadcast the ceremony, which veteran Billy Crystal will host.

The following video is from the Envelope Directors Roundtable. Here, filmmakers George Clooney ("The Ides of March"), Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants") and Martin Scorsese ("Hugo") sat down with The Times' John Horn at the recent Envelope Directors Roundtable and talked about the importance and challenges of assembling a good cast.

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Photo: George Clooney in "The Descendants." Credit: Fox Searchlight


 
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