Amal Clooney and her twin baby bump may have “outshone” her husband on the red carpet at the César Film Awards Ceremony in Paris Friday night. But when her husband George got onstage to accept his honorary award, he stole the spotlight back.
Clooney accepted his award in English, with French actor Jean Dujardin of The Artist fame by his side translating. After cracking some jokes, Clooney ultimately turned serious as he addressed the political moment in his home country that is already affecting the rest of the world.
“I was thinking about Edward R. Murrow,” Clooney said, referencing the subject of his 2005 film Good Night, and Good Luck, “as we find ourselves nostalgic for when America was great and when the news wasn’t fake.”
“We must not confuse dissent for disloyalty,” he said, quoting Murrow. “We must not walk in fear of one another. We must not be driven by fear into an age of unreason.”
Turning more specifically to Donald Trump, Clooney said, “The actions of this president have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies.”
“And whose fault is that?” he asked. “Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it, and rather successfully.”
Clooney ended by quoting Shakespeare. “Cassius was right,” he said. “‘The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.’” He then added Murrow’s famous sign-off: “Goodnight and good luck.”
After Clooney collected his award, he was asked by a reporter backstage when he would be running for president. While he said he has always been “political,” he insisted he has no plans to run for office, saying it’s “easier to get things done” when you don’t have to “answer to a constituency.”
In an interview with a French journalist earlier this week, Clooney may have tried to head off any criticism he might receive for his remarks. Speaking out against those who would call people like him and Meryl Streep “Hollywood elitists” who don’t have a right to speak out about political issues, Clooney said, “Donald Trump has 22 acting credits in television... He collects $120,000 a year in his Screen Actors Guild pension fund. Uhh? He is a Hollywood elitist.”
But at least Trump was relatively successful in the entertainment business. Clooney added that Steve Bannon, on the other hand, “is a failed film writer and director. That’s the truth, that’s what he’s done. He wrote a Shakespearean rap musical about the L.A. riots that he couldn’t get made. He made a lot of money off of Seinfeld. He’s elitist Hollywood, I mean that’s the reality.”