01/08/2008 at 06:00 AM EST
Just hours after Nicole Kidman
announced her pregnancy
, George Clooney
offered up his congratulations.
"I'm thrilled for her," he told PEOPLE at the picket-line-free Critics' Choice Awards
in L.A. Monday night. "[She'll be] a perfect mother."
(The two have been friends for years, dating back to their work in 1997's The Peacemaker
. Kidman and Clooney famously bet $10,000 on whether he would be married when he turned 40 in 2001. She lost, of course.)
"She'll be great," Clooney said of the Aussie actress, already mother to Isabella, 15, and Connor, 12, her adopted children with ex-husband Tom Cruise
. "She'll be a tall mother."
Clooney, who lost the best actor award to Daniel Day Lewis, also endured some good-natured ribbing from Ocean's Thirteen
pal Casey Affleck. "Hey you big loser," Ben's little brother heckled during Clooney's chat with PEOPLE. "You're a loser!"
Clooney, who won a best supporting acting Oscar last year for Syriana
, took it all in stride, noting, "[Being] a nominee, it's fine. But when you're a loser, you're a loser."
The actor was also on hand to present the first-annual Joel Siegel Award (named after the late ABC movie critic) to friend and former costar Don Cheadle for his humanitarian work.
"The fact that [George] only charged me $1,500, I thought was really nice of him," Cheadle joked in the press room. "Matt [Damon] was around $2,500, and what Denzel wanted, I won't even mention."
The Darfur activist did get serious for a minute, adding that "George is . . . someone who I've not only worked with onscreen, but we've also done things for the cause – and it's great to have an ally."