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Few actors command your attention each and every time they step in front of the camera. You could probably count those actors and actresses on one hand: Daniel Day-Lewis, Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet. The final name I'd add to that list is George Clooney, but he commands your attention in a very different way.
While the others build their legacy tackling very meaty, often intense roles, Clooney kills you with confidence and charm. Whether it's in a commercial project like Ocean's 11, a quirky one like Out of Sight, or a more serious one like Up in the Air, it's almost impossible to watch a Clooney performance and not find yourself totally captivated. And that's without even getting into his really dramatic efforts such as Michael Clayton and The American — in which he gives what could be considered his very best performances.
This year, we received a critically acclaimed double-dose of Clooney. In The Ides of March (which he also directed), he played an idealistic presidential candidate with a secret. It's not exactly a stretch, but he definitely anchors the film and does a tremendous job keeping us in the dark as to his true nature.
More recently, he appeared in The Descendants, which is expanding to more theaters nationwide this week. Clooney very well might be the Best Actor frontrunner playing a husband and father coping with tragedy and a related personal crisis. Alexander Payne knows how to get the most out of his actors, and though I haven't yet seen The Descendants, I have little doubt my love of Clooney won't grow tenfold after I catch up with it.
And as charismatic as Clooney is on screen, his off-screen persona is just as magnetic. With so few stars having anything of substance to say, Clooney is something of a Hollywood treasure. Movie stars like him are few and far between nowadays, which is why I'm thankful for George Clooney this Thanksgiving, and why you should be too.