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Film earns Clooney papa’s pat

London, Feb. 20 (Reuters): For George Clooney, it was the ultimate Oscar ' his father loved Good Night, and Good Luck.

The tale of CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow’s battle against Senator Joe McCarthy’s anti-Communist witch-hunt could not have been closer to both their hearts; hence the actor’s nerves when he showed the film to his father, newscaster Nick Clooney.

“He was the first person I showed it to,” Clooney said on a trip to London for the British Film Academy Awards (BAFTA).

“Believe me, of all the people you show it to, at all the film festivals and all the places you go, the harshest critic is your old man. The fact that he liked it ' I was very excited about that.”

Clooney said: “I wrote the film coming back from the Berlin Film Festival. It was in the lead-up to the (Iraq) War. I said we should be asking a few questions before we go in and send 150,000 kids to be shot at.

“I came home and was called a traitor to my country on the cover of magazines.”

Clooney came away empty-handed from the London awards ceremony ' he was up for four BAFTAs for his acting, directing and writing skills ' but this has been a dream year for the Hollywood heavyweight on both sides of the camera.

He has three Oscar nominations under his belt, for Best Supporting Actor in the Middle East oil thriller Syriana and for directing and co-writing the screenplay for Good Night, and Good Luck.

It is the first time someone has made the cut for acting and directing in two different films in the same year.

“It really is flattering but it is also embarrassing,” Clooney said.

“All of a sudden you are competing with actors. I don’t really know how to do that. I know how to work with them but I don’t know how to compete with them.”

The Hollywood heartthrob, who headed west from Kentucky in the early 1980s to work as chauffeur for his aunt, singer Rosemary Clooney, will always be grateful that fame was a slow-burning fuse for him.

“I was lucky,” he said. “I got famous late in life. Had I been famous at 21, I would have been shooting crack into my eye or something stupid. It is much better when you get older.”

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