Is George the New Jack? Clooney Filling Nicholson's Role at Oscars
By Jo Piazza Posted Mar 8th 2010 08:00PM
In the absence of the venerable Jack Nicholson at last night's Academy Awards, we couldn't help but wonder -- has George Clooney stepped in to take over Jack's schtick? Just as Jack would sit front row, a gorgeous and much younger lady draped on his arm, sunglasses firmly in place (because you just don't deserve to know who Jack is looking at), taking a drubbing from the Oscar hosts, so sat Clooney, front and center -- but not exactly in Jack's seat, mind you -- a younger lady on his arm, playing along as Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin roasted him all night.
We have to say we missed Jack, with his glasses and devilish grin. Clooney is great and all, but can he ever really fill Jack's seat?
"Clooney's MO is different from Jack's. I think Jack is definitely on a higher level," says HollywoodLife.com Editor-in-Chief Bonnie Fuller. "Jack is very much the king of Hollywood who thinks that everyone else in beneath him. That's why he wears the sunglasses. George is everybody in Hollywood's best buddy. Everybody likes him and everybody wants to be a part of his inner circle. Hollywood is like high school and he is the most popular guy right now."
All those cutaways in years past, where the cameraman would try to catch Jack sipping from a flask, flirting with a woman who wasn't his date or maybe even falling asleep behind those dark shades, went directly to Clooney last night, and he yucked it up by making stern faces at Martin and Baldwin's jokes. While some headlines today have claimed George was grumpy or mad while the hosts dissed him, he was actually just playing the role that Jack perfected years ago when Billy Crystal would write jokes specifically at Jack's expense.
"George and Jack are both the perfect Oscar targets for the hosts to play around with. They know their role and they relish being the foil," says Fox News' Oscar Expert, Tariq Khan. And according to Khan, who is a wealth of Oscar knowledge, Clooney is well on his way to the kind of Oscar superstardom that Nicholson has achieved over the course of his long and storied career. While Nicholson still holds the title for the male actor with the most nominations (12 nominations and three wins), Clooney has been nominated three times in the past five years alone. If George, 48, can keep this pace up, by the time he reaches Jack's age (72), he could even surpass him in total nominations.
"I think that Clooney is taking over. Period. The fact that he is being called our new Jack Nicholson is just a bonus. His faces in the audience during the hosts' monologue were basically the lesson plans from an 'Acting With the Face Muscles 101' class. He was also seen running around, high-fiving fans in the stands. If you replace the word high-fiving with drinking and fans with Scotch then him and Jack Nicholson are exactly the same," says NY Post PopWrap's Ryan Brockington.
Watch the Girls on Pop Take on George and Jack
It makes sense that Nicholson didn't come to Sunday night's awards. He wasn't nominated this year, and perhaps the Academy simply didn't ask him to present. Or maybe he wanted to get out while the getting was good and just bequeath his seat to someone new. For our sake, we're hoping he makes it back for a few more shows. There is something comforting about seeing Jack in the front row, almost like when your drunk uncle Albert slurs his way through grace at Thanksgiving. It just feels like home. And we can't imagine that Jack would cede the throne so easily. We're looking forward to 2011, where we fully expect George to try to settle into Jack's seat as Jack removes his sunglasses and smirks, "Who the %$&# are you?"
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Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images
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