Clooney to present Oscar statuette

LOS ANGELES: Movie heartthrob George Clooney, who will attend the Oscars for the first time this year armed with three nominations, will also present a statuette to a winner at next week’s show. The 44-year-old star is a major Academy Awards hopeful after winning nods for best director and best original screenplay for his political drama Good Night, and Good Luck as well as a best supporting actor nomination for Syriana.

Both of his nominated films have attracted attention in a highly-political Oscars year packed with movies about weighty issues.

Good Night tells of US newsman Ed Murrow’s public feud in the early 1950s with Senator Joseph McCarthy, who was waging his communist witch-hunt, which Murrow maintained amounted to abuse of official power and infringed on freedom of speech.

The thriller Syriana, in which Clooney plays a CIA spy, tells of the machinations of the oil industry and of secret US operations in the Middle East.