Jean Dujardin isn't called the French George Clooney for nothing. The charming star of "The Artist" -- and likely Clooney's biggest competition for Best Actor at the 84th annual Academy Awards in February -- is so deft at handling a room that he can even make the nominally stone-faced Robert De Niro smile. All it took was mimicking one of De Niro's most iconic screen performances.

At the New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner on Monday night -- the same dinner that saw Armond White apparently slam his long-time bête noire, J. Hoberman -- De Niro came over to Dujardin's table and the French import proceeded to engage in some difficult small talk. It was only when he turned to impersonations that things thawed. Per Melena Ryzik, the New York Times Carpetbagger blogger:

[E]ventually Mr. Dujardin turned and began doing his De Niro impression, to Mr. De Niro. He did the squinted eyes, the pursed lips, the little shrugs. Mr. De Niro looked at him, impassive but mirroring. Mr. Dujardin kept at it; he drank some water -- or maybe it was vodka, he had ordered a double -- and resumed his De Niro-iest expression. Mr. De Niro did not comment. Across the table, a Weinstein Company executive held his breath.

Finally, Mr. Dujardin went for it: "You talkin' to me?"

Mr. DeNiro, after a long, weighty pause: "Pretty good," he said, totally deadpan. "Hilarious." He gave a hint of smile.
Hilarious, indeed! And wait until Bob (we're tight) sees Uggie's impression of him in "Analyze This."

[via NYT/Carpetbagger]



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