When you’re George Clooney and you are in two Oscar-bait pictures of the year, you have to make some sort of decision on which is your horse. And it looks like if Clooney’s going for gold this year, it will be for his performance in The Descendants, the latest Alexander Payne film. They’ve just cut a new “glowing reviews” trailer. Check it out.

Word is relatively good (there was a reflexive “soft” and ” BS awards-bait” talk after the film did the festival circuit). But after getting mostly positive reviews, you can see how they’re now selling this: Clooney, Clooney, Clooney. He’s doing both funny business and moody business – and the quotes they took for the ad suggest that it’s a heart-tugger.

There’s little sense of anyone else in the picture (the trailer offers a glimpse at Robert Forster), and there seems to be as much pathos here as there is comedy. I couldn’t spot third-billed (on the IMDb) Matthew Lilllard in what could be termed his comeback role. Whether it goes into front-runner status is unknown, but it looks like Clooney’s The Ides of March has not been getting similar traction. I say this because with a film like this you need academy heat to do better at the box office.the Descendants opens November 18 in limited release.

Can you tell what the plot is from this trailer?