Clooney unsure of Oscar chances

first_imgHe has three nominations, but George Clooney doesn’t expect to win any Oscars this year. Clooney is a directing and screenplay nominee for “Good Night, and Good Luck” and a supporting-actor nominee for the provocative oil-industry thriller “Syriana.” “I don’t think we’re going to win any,” a deadpan Clooney told reporters Friday, where “Syriana” was screened at Berlin’s annual film festival. “There’s been a lot of `Brokeback Mountain’ stuff.” His nomination in the screenplay category for “Good Night, and Good Luck” puts him up against Stephen Gaghan, who wrote and also directed “Syriana.” Conan angling for Cabinet position Conan O’Brien, who endorsed the re-election of Finnish President Tarja Halonen with mock ad campaigns because they both have red hair and fair skin, said he expects to be rewarded with a Cabinet position. Hundreds of fans welcomed O’Brien on Saturday to a freezing Helsinki, only two weeks after Halonen, 62, secured a second six-year term as Finland’s first female president. After arriving at the airport, the quirky, self-deprecating NBC network host said he will ask Halonen for a Cabinet position when he meets her Tuesday. “In my country, when someone is instrumental in helping someone get elected it’s customary for the president to give that person a Cabinet or ministerial position,” O’Brien told reporters in the airport’s VIP lounge. “I’d like to be the inspector of saunas, mostly women’s saunas,” he said. O’Brien has joked that his show is highly popular here because of his resemblance to the fair-skinned, red-haired Halonen. Last year, he caused a political stir by endorsing her during her campaign, broadcasting mock ads promoting her and attacking her opponents. “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” airs five days a week on SUBTV, a Finnish cable channel, with a few days’ delay. After his Tuesday meeting at the presidential palace with Halonen, O’Brien is to receive a TV award for being “the most surprising and entertaining TV personality in Finland.” _ Associated Press McKellen won’t be retiring soon Ian McKellen says he’s enjoying a late burst of global fame and still has “a lot of life left” after a decades-long acting career that earned him a lifetime achievement award at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. McKellen, 66, was picking up an honorary Golden Bear – the festival’s top prize – at a ceremony Saturday, accompanied by a screening of the 1995 film version of “Richard III.” “I still hope I’ve got a lot of life left on stage and making films,” McKellen said. After “Richard III,” he picked up an Oscar nomination for his part in 1998’s “Gods and Monsters” and gained worldwide fame by playing the wizard Gandalf in the “Lord of the Rings” movies and appearing in the “X-Men” films. Upcoming roles include the part of Sir Leagh Teabing in the movie of “The Da Vinci Code.” The actor, a prominent gay rights campaigner, was guarded as to what impact the success of the Oscar front-runner “Brokeback Mountain” might have. It remains “very, very difficult for an American actor who wants a film career to be open about his sexuality and even more difficult for a woman,” he said. “The film industry is very old-fashioned in California.” But, he added, “my own career in mainstream films really took off once I’d come out.” – Associated Press 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card In “Syriana,” Clooney plays a veteran CIA agent assigned to assassinate the heir to the throne in an oil-rich Persian Gulf country. “Oscar nominations are as important as anything,” he said. “The hope is that people will see this film – I don’t know about wins.” Clooney grew a beard and piled on weight for the role. “I put it on so quickly I was anxious to get it off,” the 44-year-old actor-director said. “The depressing thing was that I could put on 35 pounds in 30 days.” – Associated Press last_img