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Will victory at the Venice Film Festival help 'The Wrestler' in the Oscars bout?

September 6, 2008 | 10:47 pm

Now that "The Wrestler" has won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, what does that mean for the Oscars?

The Golden Lion is the Venice Film Festival's best-picture prize, of course, but that doesn't translate to the Academy Awards. No Golden Lion champ has nabbed the loftiest Golden Boy in Hollywood yet, but a few got nominated in the top Oscars derby, including "Brokeback Mountain" (2005) and "Atlantic City" (1980).

The_wrestler_mickey_rourke

Venice's top winner of 2004 — "Vera Drake" — at least paid off in Oscar's best-actress race with a nom for Imelda Staunton, so this news out of Italy's fest certainly boosts Mickey Rourke's hopes in the best-actor bout.

Yankee film critics are wild for Rourke's performance. Variety's Todd McCarthy declares, "Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances."

With those kinds of reviews, "The Wrestler" and Rourke will probably score a few knock-out punches at the critics' awards.

And, of course, the Golden Lion victory could help director Darren Aronofsky — much like a Golden Lion victory for "Short Cuts" in 1993 probably helped Robert Altman at least a bit to score his Oscar bid in the academy's helmers' contest.

See a full list of Venice champs in all categories here.

Photo credit: Saturn Films

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Comments

Mickey was excellent in the movies but credit should also go to his trainers, Jon Trosky (aka Supreme Lee Great); Tom Farra (aka Smooth Tommy Suede) and Afa The Wild Samoan who started training Mickey after Nicholas Cage bailed from the film. Too bad, Nick didn't stick with it. Rumor had it he was very good but found the training too tough and dropped out.

The real question is can anyone get this film out in time for an Oscar run? The film doesn't have a US distributor, though will surely be aggressively courted after its Toronto screening today, and to anyone paying big bucks to buy the film, December's looking mighty crowded.

Mickey R. is long overdue. Watch Angelheart. Those who have received "Best Actors" *since* can only dream of approximating Rourke's performance in that one. Rourke is the Deniro we failed to ever recognize.


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