Sunday, September 07, 2008

And the Oscar for best actor goes to ... Mickey Rourke?

Over the past 24 hours, the various agents representing Lorenzo Lamas, Jean Claude van Damme, and the two Feldmans -- Corey and Haim -- have been repeat dialing Darren Aronofsky's phone.

Ok, I can't state that's 100% true, but it's certainly possible now that the director of "The Wrestler" has miraculously done a Lazarus on Mickey Rourke. The all-but-forgotten actor can afford to swagger once again now that he seems certain to get nominated for Best Actor. (Just imagine what Aronofsky could do for Mike Myers' career.*)

"The Wrestler" has won top honors at Venice. And it arrives at Toronto heralded by reviews in Variety and The Reporter that, between them, pretty much drained the dictionary of every known superlative in the English language in describing Rourke's performance. (Rourke was the best thing in "Sin City," too, but no one recognized him in all those shadow-obscured facial prosthetics.)

So, on paper at least, strong contenders for Best Actor 2009 seem to be: Rourke, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Penn, and Brad Pitt. Given that these things are really a popularity contest that come down to carefully orchestrated electoral campaigns -- the McCain/Palin ticket really needs to hire Rogers & Cowen to see how it's done -- The Golden Boy will walk away with it for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Unless, that is, the mega-megabudget film turns out to be as much a flop as "Meet Joe Black." The press -- and Gil Cates -- will be praying that Angelina Jolie will also walk away with gold on the same night for "The Changeling." That storyline would trump even Phelps's 8 medals. (Don't worry, the Jolie-Pitts can more than afford the 8 babysitters they'll need for the night.)

Marisa Tomei, meanwhile, seems to be dishing out some sweet revenge to everyone who claimed she unfairly won an Oscar. Her once-promising A-list status faltered soon after and it seemed her lot would be a lifetime of Lifetime TV movies. Instead, Tomei is going for broke at this stage of her life, taking off her clothes and taking on unglamorous roles in "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" and now "The Wrestler." (The balding blabbermouth in the trench coat at the front of the ticket line? That'll be George Constanza.) I expect we'll see Tomei back on the red carpet at the Kodak theater next year.

* Quentin Tarantino, the patron saint of lapsed careers, has reportedly offered Myers a role in "Inglorious Bastards."

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