updated 01/13/2010 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 01/14/2010 AT 6:05 AM ET
Could there be a sexier image than all-American hunk George Clooney learning Italian from his latest love interest, lingerie model Elisabetta Canalis?
And while the Up in the Air star has yet to conquer the language, Canalis, an Italian talk-show host who appears in sexy lingerie ads for Roberto Cavalli’s spring 2010 line, tells PEOPLE her handsome beau “is learning.”
For his part, Clooney, 48, gives his teacher high marks. “She’s always nice to me,” he says. “She always says nice things.”
Others are also saying nice things about Canalis, 31, who has been hand-in-hand with Clooney on plenty of red carpets during this current awards season. On Tuesday, they were together at the National Board of Review Awards at Cipriani in New York, where Clooney picked up a Best Acting award for Up in the Air.
“She’s stunning,” Vera Farmiga, Clooney’s love interest in Up in the Air, told PEOPLE about Canalis. “She’s a real gentlewoman. I dug her.”
The film’s producer, Ivan Reitman, said Canalis is “gorgeous” and that Clooney “seems to really dig her.”
But onstage, Farmiga, 36, couldn’t resist a good-natured onstage dig at her handsome costar, who has long been one of Hollywood’s most sought-after bachelors.
Before honoring Clooney for his role in Up in the Air, Farmiga kidded that the title of Clooney’s movie Good Night and Good Luck is “what every woman hears at the end of a date with George, except the beautiful Elisabetta.”