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Presenting the Coen Brothers with their best picture prize, the star even supplies dialogue

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 16, 2008 01:25 PM
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Credit: Dave Allocca/Startraks

George Clooney may have taken direction from the filmmaking Coen Brothers in the past – for 2000’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? and 2003’s Intentional Cruelty – but at Monday night’s National Board of Review awards dinner in New York, it was clearly a case of role reversal.

On hand to pick up his best actor award from the group for Michael Clayton, PEOPLE’s former Sexiest Man Alive – with girlfriend Sara Larson – also presented Joel and Ethan Coen the top prize, for the board’s best picture of the year, No Country for Old Men.

“They can do anything,” Clooney, 46, said of director Joel, 53, and writer, Ethan, 50. Summarizing their filmography and the audience to whom their movies appeal, Clooney said, “For stoners, there’s The Big Lebowski … for funny, there’s Raising Arizona.”

Clooney also said that what was “most fun is, these guys hate [awards shows]. They are the worst you have ever seen at this. Watch when they get up here,” Clooney warned. “Ethan won’t talk. Joel will finally say, ‘Thanks, man,’ then just leave.”

Sure enough, came their brief time at the podium, Ethan didn’t talk, and Joel finally said, ‘Thanks, man’ – and left.

This left Clooney to go back to his table and a smiling Larson, who gave him a look of approval and a pat on the shoulder.

After the show, cameras caught up with the star, who talked about surviving the ongoing writers strike during red carpet season and admitted the secret to a happy relationship is “a lot of alcohol.”

Reporting by SUSAN YARA

Video courtesy AP