Oscar Watch: Mickey Rourke!


The New York Film Festival just announced its lineup, and Steven Soderbergh’s “Che,” about the 1960s revolutionary icon, is probably the biggest inclusion. The fact that this four-hours-plus movie, starring Benicio del Toro, does not yet have American distribution will make it an especially hot ticket when the festival kicks off on September 26. But the real what-the-fuck news is that the festival’s closing spot — which often goes to films that move on to Oscar nominations — has been bestowed upon “The Wrestler.” Kent Jones of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which presents the fest, says that the “Wrestler“‘s star, Mickey Rourke, gives “the performance of a lifetime.” Since his previous work, beloved mostly by perverse French film critics, has hardly been Brando-ish, that encomium begs for a smart-ass comeback. But I will resist. If Rourke is actually is any good, he would be prime Oscar bait, since Oscar loves big performances from performers who were previously punchlines. (Cher, in “Moonstruck,” is Exhibit A.) Will the Best Actor category be a face-off between del Toro and Rourke and perhaps Sean Penn from “Milk”?

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