One of the biggest question marks at this point in the awards season is Alexander Payne and George Clooney’s domestic drama The Descendants. It emerged from the Telluride and Toronto film festivals as the movie with the loudest buzz and scored rave reviews across the board upon its release in December. It has performed well with every major awards body, most notably winning the Best Drama and Best Actor prizes at the Golden Globes. Then it picked up five Oscar nominations, including Best Director and Best Editing, indicating strong overall support. But it hit a snag this past weekend, as The Artist’s Jean Dujardin beat Clooney for the Best Actor SAG Award, while The Help took the Best Cast trophy.
While Best Picture seems like a race between The Artist and Hugo at this point, I’d say the two categories where The Descendants still has a shot at a win are Best Actor, which is now clearly Clooney or Dujardin, and Best Adapted Screenplay, which seems like a three-way contest between Descendants, Hugo, and Moneyball. Last week, I interviewed Clooney and his cast mates in front of an industry audience. In the clips below, the actor talks about why taking on the Descendants role made him nervous, what he learned about Hawaiian culture while making the film, and his climactic hospital-room scene.