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Counting candles

A packed Academy theater for Fox Searchlight’s “The Descendants,” held Nov. 15, didn’t stop George Clooney from wishing co-star Shailene Woodley a happy birthday, as the cast and director Alexander Payne stood onstage prior to the screening. Things only got worse for the 20-year-old actress when Clooney led the crowd in a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”

At the afterparty downstairs, Payne wasn’t shy about his own age and the subject of filmmaking as a career. “Film requires a pathetic lifestyle,” he joked. “Here I am at 50, unmarried and barren.”

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