George Clooney: I'm the Hillary Clinton of the Oscars

02/21/2008 at 12:05 PM EST

George Clooney: I'm the Hillary Clinton of the Oscars
George Clooney is already practicing his "it's an honor just to be nominated" speech, telling Time magazine in a new interview that he doesn't have a shot at beating out Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor at Sunday's Academy Awards.

"For me, it's like being Hillary Clinton," says the Michael Clayton star. "If it weren’t for Barack Obama, it would have been a very good year." Adds Clooney: "I thought Daniel Day-Lewis had the best performance of the year."

Over the years, Clooney has played many roles: actor, director, peace activist. But one role he really relishes is Oscar forecaster. Apart from his own race, the actor handicaps other major categories, boasting to Time that he's never lost an Oscar pool. Just how accurate are his picks? That will be determined on Feb. 24. But one thing is certain – Clooney's pretty humble when it comes to his film, Best Picture nominee Michael Clayton.

"Our film is the best it can be in that genre," he says, adding, "but there's a ceiling on that genre." Instead, Clooney predicts that No Country for Old Men will take the top prize, and its directors Joel and Ethan Coen will nab the Best Director trophy. (Clooney, a frequent Coen brothers collaborator, is starring in their latest movie, Burn After Reading.) He also gives a nod to Javier Bardem as Best Supporting Actor, whose arresting turn as psychotic killer Anton Chigurh in the film has already wracked up slews of awards – including a Golden Globe.

"If [Michael Clayton] has a shot at anything, it's Best Supporting Actress with Tilda Swinton," he says – though Clooney makes Amy Ryan, from Gone Baby Gone, his pick in that category.

The actor was also impressed by La Vie En Rose's Marion Cotillard. "[She] does an old person trying to be young, instead of what everyone does – a young person trying to be old," he says. "It's a stunning performance."

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