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Oscars 2012: For De Niro, it’s about Clooney and Streep (and Uggie)

February 24, 2012 |  9:40 am


When the Oscars get underway Sunday, one notable name won't be in the room amid the glitz and high fashion. Robert De Niro, whose frequent collaborator, Martin Scorsese, is up for a directing Oscar, will be back East where he's shooting an action thriller in Georgia with John Travolta.

But that doesn't mean De Niro, who has two statuettes himself, doesn't have strong feelings about this year's races. Asked his favorite performances, the actor didn't hesitate to name two: George Clooney in "The Descendants" and Meryl Streep in "The Iron Lady.” “I wouldn’t be surprised if they both went in and won,” he said. (Both are, of course, up for lead acting Oscars on Sunday, though face stiff competition from Jean Dujardin and Viola Davis, respectively.)

De Niro, who is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that determines the Oscars, said that when it comes to 2011 films, he was particularly taken with "The Artist." "It’s a special movie, very well done, clever and smart," he said. "And to get performances like that. Even the dog. Seriously, where do you even get a dog like that?"

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We may not see Uggie much in the future; the crowd-pleasing canine is retiring after the Oscars. We will, however, see plenty of De Niro in the coming months. Next week he opens “Being Flynn,” his passion project with director Paul Weitz about a vagabond father who reunites with his son after nearly two decades apart. And later this year he’ll appear in a comedy opposite Amanda Seyfried titled “The Wedding” and a David O. Russell family dramedy, “The Silver Linings Playbook.” The still-undated Sundance thriller “Red Lights" also lies on the horizon.

And then there’s “Killing Season,” the movie De Niro is shooting with Travolta that centers on two veterans of the Bosnian war, one American and one Serbian, who confront each other in the Smoky Mountains. “It has action and a bit of a thriller thing,” De Niro said, “and maybe also has got a bit of a political thing.”


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-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Robert De Niro in "Limitless." Credit: Relativity Media

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