Clooney, Dujardin, Pitt in Oscar battle

Clooney, Dujardin, Pitt in Oscar battle

Clooney, Dujardin, Pitt in Oscar battle

Best Actor nominees (L to R) Jean Dujardin, Brad Pitt and George Clooney mingle backstage at the 31st Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills. AP photos

Hollywood glamour meets French chic in a battle of charm for Oscar’s best actor accolade on Feb. 26 that pits George Clooney and close friend Brad Pitt against dashing Jean Dujardin.

Clooney, 50, beloved by his peers and regarded as the most eligible bachelor in the world, is thought to have the edge for his performance as a back-up dad forced to pull his family together in the emotional drama “The Descendants.” But don’t count out Dujardin, the French star of silent movie “The Artist,” who has happily been spoofing himself and his Hollywood newcomer status on U.S. sketch show “Saturday Night Live” and comedy video website Funny or Die.

“Clooney is in top form and this film, most people felt was the performance of his career,” said Tom O’Neil of awards site, noting that Clooney had been campaigning hard in the run-up to the Feb. 26 Academy Awards ceremony.

Dujardin, 39, a household name in France but unknown in Hollywood, utters just two words as silent movie icon George Valentin, who refuses to embrace the talkies in “The Artist.” If he wins on Feb. 26, Dujardin would be the first French-born actor to win the Oscar for a lead role.

And Pitt, who won over audiences with his performance as baseball manager Billy Beane in “Moneyball”, may have to wait his turn.

Pitt, 48, is yet to win an Oscar and has only been nominated twice before during a prolific film career that started with him being perceived as a “bit of a rascal,” according to O’Neil.

“There’s a feeling there for Pitt that he’s way overdue and that this movie needs some awards love,” said O’Neil.

‘Greatest hits’ for Oscar menu

After the red carpet has been walked and Oscars given out on Feb. 26 night, Hollywood’s stars will dine to what master chef Wolfgang Puck calls his “greatest hits” of recipes.

He and his staff of 350 will serve some 1500 guests including Clooney, Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The list of foods for the sumptuous feast is long: smoked salmon Oscars, chicken pot pie with shaved black truffles, lobster tacos with tomato and pickled Shallots, beet salad with pistachio butter, braised short ribs with parmesan polenta, lamb chops with a mint cilantro vinegar, lobster with curry ginger sauce, burrata and citrus balsamic, baked potato wrapped in gold with caviar and crème fraiche.