Academy Award winning actor George Clooney (Syriana, The Descendants, O Brother, Where Art Thou?) will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Gold Globes on Sunday, January 11. His former co-stars Julianna Margulies (ER) and Don Cheadle (the Ocean’s franchise) will present the award to Clooney. The award is given to those who offer “outstanding contributions” to the entertainment world. Woody Allen, Jodie Foster and Morgan Freeman were the last three to win the award. So what did the film director and producer DeMille do to deserve having an award named after him?
Cecil B. DeMille is best known for his films The Ten Commandments (1923), which is the seventh highest-grossing film of all-time (adjusted for inflation), Cleopatra (1932), and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). He was also known as a lifelong conservative Republican activist and a devout Christian. His beliefs were reflected in his films. As critic Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker in 1970: De Mille is “a sanctimonious manipulator – [he] used to satisfy the voyeuristic needs of the God-abiding by showing them what they were missing by being good and then soothe them by showing them the terrible punishments they escaped by being good.” Clooney is a proud liberal who has lent his star power to many causes. If DeMille were alive today, let’s just say Clooney wouldn’t bring him to the next powwow at the Council on Foreign Relations.