For his fourth directorial project, The Ides of March, Clooney tackles politics. Praising his knack for pacing – "He has an uncanny sense of how to uncork a scene and let it bubble and flow" – EW also commends the star's turn as a fictitious presidential candidate. The film, which costars Ryan Gosling, earns the director the Brian Award at the Venice Film Festival.
Clooney punctuates a serious year of film with the quirky dramedy, The Descendants, in which he plays a beleaguered father confronted by a cheating wife, major family real estate and the locals of Hawaii. "If it's not nominated for Best Picture, I'll be shocked," Clooney tells Rolling Stone. "It's that good." The actor's performance earns him a best actor Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Award, in addition to a Best Actor Oscar nomination.
After testifying before Congress about the "campaign for murder" in Sudan, Clooney, 50, is arrested for participating in a staged protest outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. "This ongoing drama has scarred my son and me for a number of years," says the actor's father Nick, who is arrested with his son and released later that day. "We will do anything we can to ensure this treachery ends in our lifetime."
Serving as a producer for Argo, Clooney takes home his second Academy Award when the film is named Best Picture. "For 25 years, the only side of the story that was told is one version of it. All we were trying to do is make a film that we liked," he tells ABC after the awards show. "We couldn't be happier with the work that we did on this film."
After two years of dating, Clooney and Keibler go their separate ways, PEOPLE confirms exclusively. "Stacy called it quits. She wants to have children and a family someday. She knows where George stands on that," a source close to the couple told PEOPLE. "They talked and they quietly stopped being a couple several weeks ago … They were friends before they started dating and they'll be friends after. It was a friendly [breakup]."
Starring opposite Sandra Bullock, Clooney takes on the role of an astronaut adrift in space in director Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity. "Sandy is the best. We've been really close friends for a long, long time ... So just the idea that I got to work with her was a blast," he tells PEOPLE of the film, which breaks box office records with its October release, grossing more than $170 million in three weeks.
Despite once professing he'll never get married again, Clooney surprisingly puts a ring on it – proposing to British attorney Amal Alamuddin. "George and Amal are trying to keep things very low-key but they also aren't really trying to hide this," a source tells PEOPLE. "They want the people they love to know that this is real, that they plan on being together forever."
Clooney and Alamuddin – along with their A-list friends – descend upon the city of Venice, Italy, for a weekend-long wedding celebration. Happenings include his-and-hers dinners on Friday night, Sept. 26, followed by the main event on Sept. 27 at the Aman Canal Grande luxury resort. The newlyweds make their union official under Italian law with a small civil ceremony at Venice town hall on Sept. 29, before leaving Italy. "It was very emotional and lovely," guest Bono tells PEOPLE of the ceremony. And "the party was great."
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