i confess i have not seen many of the Oscar contenders. i also make no secret of the fact that the Oscars, by and large, tend to get it all wrong in regards of achievement and popularity. of late they have got better, but not that much.
in regards of the Best Actor nominations, i have only seen one of them thus far, the one that is seen as the "big favourite"...
.....and i must say that if this is the favourite, i am not all that excited about seeing the other four performances, then.
don't get me wrong, i'm a very big Rourke fan. the terrifying, chilling Angel Heart ranks as an all time classic in my books, and Year Of The Dragon has been sadly overlooked as a rough, unpleasant gem.
Rourke is not bad in this. the physical work he does is, without question, exceptional. he makes the most of the dialogue he's given (one moving speech about being alone, one ace comment about Kurt Cobain), but in neither instance is it spectacular or what one would call above average. if anything, the real star performance from this film is Marisa Tomei really; she's the one you walk away from the most impressed with.
if one went with a like-for-like comparison in regards of Oscar glory, the only one you can compare Rourke's turn in The Wrestler too is De Niro in Raging Bull. yeah, if you have seen both, i think you see the point i am making. nice work, Mr Rourke, welcome back, but this isn't really a triumph of the art, is it?
if he wins the Oscar for this, then it will be back to the days of popular, sympathy awarding rather than merit. Rourke winning the Oscar for The Wrestler will be akin to Hanks for Forrest Gump and Washington for Training Day, which is "gee, we really like him and the film wasn't bad, here, take a gold man home". and still no one to this day can explain why on earth Kevin Spacey was considered the Best Actor for his grinning in the dismal film American Beauty.
the problem is perhaps the Oscars. the three above who won it didn't deserve it for those films, and all too often we see the best performances of the year get ignored - remember how Robert Downey jnr was denied for his astonishing work as and in Chaplin and, worst of all in recent years, they somehow didn't give the Oscar to Bill Murray for his magnificent turn in Lost In Translation. and don't get me started on how they never once recognized Kubrick's astonishing film-making, yet nonetheless had the audacity to play an unheard of individual tribute to him after his passing.
it's too easy to say "oh, the Oscars don't matter". i am afraid that they do very much matter to film lovers - it's the biggest celebration event on the calendar, which makes it all the more sad that they make a mess of who they give the actual awards to.
quite telling, and proving my point somewhat, is the fact that The Wrestler is absent from the Picture and Director nominations. as much as you may want to like it, it isn't a terribly interesting or particularly good film. the shaky, amateur / "reality" camerawork approach is just tired and stale, sadly. the story itself has been done time and time again, sometimes not as good but quite often much better than this. the whole thing is Rocky Balboa played for depression rather than compassion.
should Rourke clock the Oscar for this, well, good luck to him, and i hope it helps the lad out in getting more roles and keeping him on his feet. if, however, this really is the best acting performance of the last year, well then, the year was evidently not quite as good as i recall it being in the movies.
as for watching The Wrestler, well, my advice would be that it will turn up on satellite tv or something sooner rather than later.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!