Sean Penn Vs Mickey Rourke.
As far as I'm concerned it's the closest race at the Oscars this Sunday. Condolences to the other three nominees --
--Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon
--Richard Jenkins in The Visitor
--Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Sunday night will be The Sean and Mickey Show.
So how are you pacing your bets?
MICKEY ROURKE in THE WRESTLER
Good Reason for Picking Him: Comeback Kid Rourke has the role of his career as a "broken down piece of meat" who's not ready to go over the hill. Rourke has been bluntly honest about how the screwup he's playing on screen is pretty much the screwup he is (or was) in life. How do Oscar voters resist that?
Stupid Reason for Not Picking Him: Rourke is basically playing himself.
SEAN PENN in MILK
Good reason for Picking Him: Playing assassinated gay-rights activist Harvey Milk, Penn disappears into the role with the artistry of an acting virtuoso. This isn't just another great Penn performance. It may be his greatest performance.
Stupid Reason for Not Picking Him: Penn already won an Oscar five years ago for Mystic River. He'll have lots of other big roles. Rourke probably won't.
Best Bet: In the final rounds leading up to Sunday, Rourke has the heat and it's building. But Penn has my heart. These are two brilliant performances. So I'm asking, why not a tie? The Academy has done it twice before. Once, in 1969, when Barbra Streisand (Funny Girl) and Katharine Hepburn (The Lion in Winter) shared the gold. And once, way back in the Pleistocene era (1932), when Wallace Beery in The Champ, playing a boxer as washed-up as Rourke's wrestler, fought to a draw against Fredric March doing his own kind of transformation in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. A Penn-Rourke tie seems far more warranted than these. Or does it? Your turn to weigh in.