Posts Tagged ‘Wrestler’


The Wrestler is an honest, gritty look at what happens to the superstars of wrestling entertainment once the cameras and spotlights no longer smile down upon them. It’s also been a matter of hot topic in recent WWE shows featuring Chris Jericho.

Twenty years ago, Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) was an alpha dog in the world of wrestling. He was one of the good guys everyone could look up to and he finished off all his opponents with a “Ram Jam” from the top ropes. Now, crowds of a hundred chant his name as he beats idolizing unknowns in the amateur ring and sits among the other aged athletes at barely attended autograph sessions. A heart attack brought on by decades of abusing his body causes Randy to re-evaluate what’s important in his life. As a result, he attempts to transcend his business-only relationship with a stripper (Marisa Tomei) and tries to mend his relationship with his daughter (Evan Rachel Wood).

Anyone who raised a wrestler to the status of hero when they were young will appreciate this behind-the-curtain look at the difficult choices and hardships these men face. Some parts are hard to watch even though we’ve seen the performance side of it countless times. A well-written, tragic script effectively pulls and drags at your heartstrings without feeling exaggerated or unreal. The downside is you may never look at a wrestling match as carefree again.

Rourke turns in a career resurrecting performance. Sin City put his name back on our lips, but this put it in our hearts and mind. Even though Rourke did not win the Oscar, the buzz and attention around this picture are well-earned. Rourke infuses “The Ram” with the charisma, energy and heart that these athletes addicted to the roar of the crowd bring to the show. On the flipside, he plays the beaten man trying to find his way to heart-wrenching perfection. Tomei also brings her A-game, portraying a woman past her prime in an industry that repels reality and values youth.

Director Darren Aronofsky doesn’t attach his usual bells and whistles to the movie’s appearance; instead, he lets the story speak for itself through drained colours and an unpolished look. Any other choice would have detracted from the chronicle.

Sadly, the only special feature included with a film of this calibre is the music video for Bruce Springsteen’s Golden Globe-winning title song “The Wrestler.”

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This was one of the most anticipated Academy Awards in years. Fingers were crossed for the little movie that could and organizers were whispering of big changes to the worn-out ceremony. And for once, the promises of grandeur were fulfilled.

Fan favourite Slumdog Millionaire was named best picture, beating out Frost/Nixon, The Reader, Milk, and nomination-leader The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The low-budget, British-Indian drama about a Mumbai street boy’s rise to game-show glory went home with eight Oscar statues, winning all but two of its nomination categories.

Filling Slumdog’s pot of gold were awards for best director (Danny Boyle); adapted screenplay (Simon Beaufoy); original score and song (A.R. Rahman); cinematography; editing; and sound.

In the acting categories, Kate Winslet (The Reader) overtook Meryl Streep (Doubt) for best actress and Sean Penn (Milk) out-manoeuvred Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler) for best actor. A wonderful Oscar moment came when Winslet asked her father to whistle so she could find him in the crowd and thank him directly during her speech.

The expectants took away supporting honours, with Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) taking home an Oscar and Heath Ledger (Dark Knight) winning posthumously for his portrayal of the Joker. Ledger’s mother, father and sister accepted the award on his daughter’s behalf, addressing the teary-eyed crowd with heartfelt thanks. However, inconsiderate planning had the next segment on documentary film cuing up as Ledger’s family exited the stage and the audience attempted to compose itself. A commercial break would have been much more appropriate.

Benjamin Button only took home awards for three of its 13 nominations, winning best art direction, makeup and visual effects.

Another Oscar moment immortalized itself when Philippe Petit, the subject of best documentary Man on Wire, made a coin magically disappear and balanced the gold statue on his chin while being played off the stage.

The following is a full list of 2009 Academy Awards winners:

Best picture
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best director
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire

Best actor
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler

Best actress
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt
Kate Winslet, “The Reader

Best supporting actor
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”

Best supporting actress
Amy Adams, “Doubt
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, “Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler

Best foreign-language film
“The Baader Meinhof Complex,” Germany
“The Class,” France
Departures,” Japan
“Revanche,” Austria
“Waltz With Bashir,” Israel

Best adapted screenplay
Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
John Patrick Shanley, “Doubt
Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”
David Hare, “The Reader
Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire

Best original screenplay
Courtney Hunt, “Frozen River”
Mike Leigh, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Martin McDonagh, “In Bruges
Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, “WALL-E”

Best animated feature film
“Bolt”
“Kung Fu Panda”
WALL-E

Best art direction
“Changeling”
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“The Dark Knight”
“The Duchess”
“Revolutionary Road”

Best cinematography
“Changeling”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best sound mixing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
Slumdog Millionaire
“WALL-E”
“Wanted”

Best sound editing
The Dark Knight
“Iron Man”
Slumdog Millionaire
“WALL-E”
“Wanted”

Best original score
Alexandre Desplat, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
James Newton Howard, “Defiance”
Danny Elfman, “Milk”
A.R. Rahman, “Slumdog Millionaire
Thomas Newman, “WALL-E”

Best original song
“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E,” Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Gulzar
“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best costume design
“Australia”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
The Duchess
“Milk”
“Revolutionary Road”

Best documentary feature
“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“The Garden”
Man on Wire
“Trouble the Water”

Best documentary (short subject)
“The Conscience of Nhem En”
“The Final Inch”
Smile Pinki
“The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306”

Best film editing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
Slumdog Millionaire

Best makeup
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“The Dark Knight”
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

Best animated short film
La Maison en Petits Cubes
“Lavatory — Lovestory”
“Oktapodi”
“Presto”
“This Way Up”

Best live action short film
“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)”
“Manon on the Asphalt”
“New Boy”
“The Pig”
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

Best visual effects
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”


The Curious Case of Benjamin Button came out on top in today’s announcement of nominees for the 81st annual Academy Awards. The romantic fantasy led contenders with 13 nominations, including best picture, acting nods for Brad Pitt and Taraji P. Henson, and a best director slot went to David Fincher.

Rounding out the best picture category were TV-landmark drama Frost/Nixon; gay-themed political biopic Milk; post-war Germany picture The Reader; and romantic crowd-favourite Slumdog Millionaire.

Slumdog continues its rags-to-riches journey, coming in second with 10 nominations, including best director for Danny Boyle, best adapted screenplay for Simon Beaufoy and two of the three song slots.

However, Slumdog’s musical fortune may have come at the expense of Bruce Springsteen, who won best original song for “The Wrestler” at the Golden Globes but failed to receive an Oscar nomination. Springsteen’s Globe competitor Clint Eastwood also found himself without a nomination in the major categories for either The Changeling or Gran Torino.

As expected, Heath Ledger was nominated for best supporting actor for his intensely villainous portrayal of Joker in The Dark Knight. The selection comes on the one-year anniversary of the actor’s death from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs. Surprisingly, the Batman blockbuster was shut out of other top categories, gaining its other seven nominations in technical categories, such as cinematography, visual effects and editing.

The remaining supporting actor spots went to Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt, Josh Brolin for Milk, Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder and Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road.

Despite Kate Winslet’s double-Golden Globe win, she was left out of the supporting actress category, only earning a leading actress nod for her role in The Reader.

Going up against Winslet are Meryl Streep for Doubt, Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married, Angelinia Jolie for The Changeling and Melissa Leo for Frozen River.

Making up the supporting actress group are Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Penelope for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Viola Davis for Doubt, Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler and Amy Adams for Doubt.

The lead actor lineup is comprised of Pitt, Sean Penn for Milk, Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler, Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon and Richard Jenkins for The Visitor.

Joining Fincher and Boyle in the director category are Gus Van Sant for Milk, Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon and Stephen Daldry for The Reader.

The 81st annual Academy Awards will be held February 22, 2009 in Los Angeles. This year’s event will be hosted by Hugh Jackman.

Below is a full list of nominees:

Best picture
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best director
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Gus Van Sant, “Milk”
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire

Best actor
Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler

Best actress
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Melissa Leo, “Frozen River”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt
Kate Winslet, “The Reader

Best supporting actor
Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”
Michael Shannon, “Revolutionary Road”

Best supporting actress
Amy Adams, “Doubt
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, “Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler

Best foreign-language film
“The Baader Meinhof Complex,” Germany
“The Class,” France
“Departures,” Japan
“Revanche,” Austria
“Waltz With Bashir,” Israel

Best adapted screenplay
Eric Roth and Robin Swicord, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
John Patrick Shanley, “Doubt
Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”
David Hare, “The Reader
Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire

Best original screenplay
Courtney Hunt, “Frozen River”
Mike Leigh, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Martin McDonagh, “In Bruges
Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon and Pete Docter, “WALL-E”

Best animated feature film
“Bolt”
“Kung Fu Panda”
“WALL-E”

Best art direction
“Changeling”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“The Duchess”
“Revolutionary Road”

Best cinematography
“Changeling”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Best sound mixing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
Slumdog Millionaire
“WALL-E”
“Wanted”

Best sound editing
“The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”
Slumdog Millionaire
“WALL-E”
“Wanted”

Best original score
Alexandre Desplat, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
James Newton Howard, “Defiance”
Danny Elfman, “Milk”
A.R. Rahman, “Slumdog Millionaire
Thomas Newman, “WALL-E”

Best original song
“Down to Earth” from “WALL-E,” Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
“Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Gulzar
“O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best costume design
“Australia”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Duchess”
“Milk”
“Revolutionary Road”

Best documentary feature
“The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“The Garden”
“Man on Wire”
“Trouble the Water”

Best documentary (short subject)
“The Conscience of Nhem En”
“The Final Inch”
“Smile Pinki”
“The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306”

Best film editing
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Frost/Nixon”
“Milk”
Slumdog Millionaire

Best makeup
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”

Best animated short film
“La Maison en Petits Cubes”
“Lavatory — Lovestory”
“Oktapodi”
“Presto”
“This Way Up”

Best live action short film
“Auf der Strecke (On the Line)”
“Manon on the Asphalt”
“New Boy”
“The Pig”
“Spielzeugland (Toyland)”

Best visual effects
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Iron Man”


Low-budget British-Indian drama Slumdog Millionaire received 11 nominations on Thursday for the British Academy awards. The well-deserved esteem comes on the heels of the film’s success at the Golden Globes and gives it another boost ahead of the Oscars next month.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which stars Brad Pitt as a man who ages backward, was also nominated in 11 categories, including best film, best actor and best director for David Fincher.

Slumdog Millionaire, a film about a Mumbai street boy’s rise to game-show glory, was nominated in six major categories including best picture, best actor for Dev Patel, best adapted screenplay for Simon Beaufoy and best director for Danny Boyle. It received several design nominations as well.

They are followed by Batman blockbuster The Dark Knight, which won nine BAFTA nominations, including best supporting actor for the late Heath Ledger; while Clint Eastwood’s L.A. noir Changeling, was nominated in eight categories, including best director.

Political drama Frost/Nixon won six nominations, including best actor for Frank Langella and best director for Ron Howard. Post-war Germany picture The Reader was nominated in five categories, including best picture and best actress for Kate Winslet. In Bruges, Milk and Revolutionary Road picked up four nods apiece.

Double-Golden Globe-winner Winslet is competing against herself in the best actress category, with nominations for both The Reader and Revolutionary Road. She is up against Angelina Jolie for Changeling, Meryl Streep for Doubt and Kristin Scott Thomas for the French film I’ve Loved You So Long.

The best-actor nominees are, Sean Penn for Milk, Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler Patel, Langella and Pitt – who was also nominated in the supporting actor category for the Coen Brothers’ spy comedy Burn After Reading.

In a statement, 18-year-old Patel said to be nominated alongside Pitt, Rourke, Langella and Penn “is unbelievably exciting and such a huge honour.”

The televised ceremony will be hosted by controversial presenter Jonathan Ross, who was recently suspended without pay from the BBC for his participation in obscene prank calls made to actor Andrew Sachs.


Last night’s red carpet showed recession chic is not in style yet. The women were gorgeous in long gowns that steered clear of over the top but were not too simple either.

Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner of the night. A.R. Rahman took best original score against Clint Eastwood; Simon Beaufoy snagged best screenplay for his adaptation of Vikas Swarup’s Q&A; and Danny Boyle took home the honour of best director.

Kate Winslet was the other big winner of the night taking home statues for both her nominations: best supporting actress in The Reader and best actress in Revolutionary Road.

The two most anticipated and predicted categories of the night were both male. As expected, Heath Ledger was posthumously awarded best supporting actor for his role as The Joker in The Dark Night. After a standing ovation, director Chris Nolan accepted the award on Ledger’s behalf. “All of us who worked with Heath on The Dark Night accept this with an awful mixture of sadness, but incredible pride.” While Nolan said Ledger’s passing represented “a hole ripped in the history of cinema,” he also noted “the incredible place in the history of cinema that he built for himself.” Nolan ended his remarks by saying, “He will be eternally missed, but he will never be forgotten.”

The other expected hopeful was awarded, as best actor went to Mickey Rourke for his outstanding performance in The Wrestler. And although the actor’s attire was a little unconventional, his acceptance speech was traditionally heartfelt. Bruce Springsteen also took best original song for “The Wrestler.”

The complete list of film winners for the 66th annual Golden Globe Awards:

Best motion picture drama
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
The Reader
“Revolutionary Road”
Slumdog Millionaire” (Winner)

Best motion picture musical or comedy
Burn After Reading
“Happy-Go-Lucky”
In Bruges
“Mamma Mia!”
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (Winner)

Best actor, drama
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Revolutionary Road”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler” (Winner)

Best actress, drama
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas, “I’ve Loved You So Long”
Kate Winslet, “Revolutionary Road” (Winner)

Best actor, musical or comedy
Javier Bardem, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Colin Farrell, “In Bruges” (Winner)
James Franco, “Pineapple Express
Brendan Gleeson, “In Bruges
Dustin Hoffman, “Last Chance Harvey”

Best actress in a musical or comedy
Kristen Bell, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”
Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky” (Winner)
Frances McDormand, “Burn After Reading
Meryl Streep, “Mamma Mia!”
Emma Thompson, “Last Chance Harvey”

Best supporting actor in a motion picture
Tom Cruise, “Tropic Thunder”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Ralph Fiennes, “The Duchess”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight” (Winner)

Best supporting actress in a motion picture
Amy Adams, “Doubt
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis, “Doubt
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler
Kate Winslet, “The Reader” (Winner)

Best director, motion picture
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire” (Winner)
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Sam Mendes, “Revolutionary Road

Best screenplay, motion picture
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Eric Roth, Robin Swicord
Doubt,” John Patrick Shanley
“Frost/Nixon,” Peter Morgan
The Reader,” David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire,” Simon Beaufoy (Winner)

Best original song, motion picture
“Bolt” (“I Thought I Lost You”)
“Cadillac Records” (“Once in a Lifetime”)
“Gran Torino” (“Gran Torino”)
“WALL-E” (“Down to Earth”)
“The Wrestler” (“The Wrestler“) (Winner)

Best original score, motion picture
“Changeling,” Clint Eastwood
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Alexandre Desplat
“Defiance,” James Newton Howard
“Frost/Nixon,” Hans Zimmer
Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman (Winner)

Best animated film
“Bolt”
“Kung Fu Panda”
“WALL-E” (Winner)

Best foreign-language film
“The Baader Meinhof Complex”
“Maria Larssons eviga ogonblick”
“Gomorra”
“I’ve Loved You So Long”
“Waltz With Bashir” (Winner)


It’s that time of year again. Where the Golden Globes are, Oscars are just around the corner. And one has been known to foretell the results of the other. However, this year’s nominations did not cause surprise by who was included, but rather by who was ignored.

Frost/Nixon, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Doubt were propelled to front-runner position with five nominations each, the two former receiving nods for best dramatic picture. Unsurprisingly, Mickey Rourke is listed in the best dramatic actor category for The Wrestler, while Heath Ledger got the best dramatic supporting actor nomination for his final role as The Joker in The Dark Knight (the film’s only nomination).

But no amount of searching will locate the names of what were assumed to be Oscar shoo-ins. Australia and Globes darling Nicole Kidman received zilch, which greatly lowers Academy hopes. The critically acclaimed Milk, a biopic starring Sean Penn, only received a single nod for the film’s star. Even Clint Eastwood will have to settle for musical nominations, having been left out of the directing and acting categories.

On the other hand, this years nominations spread the love around with no one film dominating all the categories. Here is the film nomination list:

Best motion picture drama
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
The Reader
“Revolutionary Road”
Slumdog Millionaire

Best motion picture musical or comedy
Burn After Reading
“Happy-Go-Lucky”
In Bruges
“Mamma Mia!”
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

Best actor, drama
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Revolutionary Road”
Frank Langella, “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn, “Milk”
Brad Pitt, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler

Best actress, drama
Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie, “Changeling”
Meryl Streep, “Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas, “I’ve Loved You So Long”
Kate Winslet, “Revolutionary Road”

Best actor, musical or comedy
Javier Bardem, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Colin Farrell, “In Bruges
James Franco, “Pineapple Express
Brendan Gleeson, “In Bruges
Dustin Hoffman, “Last Chance Harvey”

Best actress in a musical or comedy
Kristen Bell, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”
Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”
Frances McDormand, “Burn After Reading
Meryl Streep, “Mamma Mia!”
Emma Thompson, “Last Chance Harvey”

Best supporting actor in a motion picture
Tom Cruise, “Tropic Thunder”
Robert Downey Jr., “Tropic Thunder”
Ralph Fiennes, “The Duchess”
Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Doubt
Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”

Best supporting actress in a motion picture
Amy Adams, “Doubt
Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Viola Davis, “Doubt
Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler
Kate Winslet, “The Reader

Best director, motion picture
Danny Boyle, “Slumdog Millionaire
Stephen Daldry, “The Reader
David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Ron Howard, “Frost/Nixon”
Sam Mendes, “Revolutionary Road

Best screenplay, motion picture
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Eric Roth, Robin Swicord
Doubt,” John Patrick Shanley
“Frost/Nixon,” Peter Morgan
The Reader,” David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire,” Simon Beaufoy

Best original song, motion picture
“Bolt” (“I Thought I Lost You”)
“Cadillac Records” (“Once in a Lifetime”)
“Gran Torino” (“Gran Torino”)
“WALL-E” (“Down to Earth”)
“The Wrestler” (“The Wrestler“)

Best original score, motion picture
“Changeling,” Clint Eastwood
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Alexandre Desplat
“Defiance,” James Newton Howard
“Frost/Nixon,” Hans Zimmer
Slumdog Millionaire,” A.R. Rahman

Best animated film
“Bolt”
“Kung Fu Panda”
“WALL-E”

Best foreign-language film
“The Baader Meinhof Complex”
“Maria Larssons eviga ogonblick”
“Gomorra”
“I’ve Loved You So Long”
“Waltz With Bashir”


With millions and millions of viewers tuning in every week, wrestling entertainment is ingrained in our culture and a memory or pastime in most of our lives. But what happens to the superstars when the cameras and spotlights no longer smile down upon them?

Twenty years ago, Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) was an alpha dog in the world of wrestling. He was one of the good guys everyone could look up to and he finished off all his opponents with a “Ram Jam” from the top ropes. Now, crowds of a hundred chant his name as he beats idolizing unknowns in the amateur ring and sits among the other aged athletes at barely attended autograph sessions. A heart attack brought on by decades of abusing his body causes him to reevaluate what’s important in his life. As a result, he attempts to transcend his business-only relationship with a stripper (Marisa Tomei) and tries to mend his relationship with his daughter (Evan Rachel Wood).

Anyone who raised a wrestler to the status of hero when they were young will appreciate this moving behind-the-curtain look at the difficult choices and hardships these men face. Some parts are hard to watch even though we’ve seen the performance side of it countless times. A well-written tragic script effectively pulls and drags at your heartstrings without feeling exaggerated or unreal. The downside is you may never look at a wrestling match as carefree again.

Rourke turns in a career performance. The Oscar buzz is already swirling around this picture and the attention is well earned. Rourke infuses “The Ram” with the charisma, energy and heart that these athletes addicted to the roar of the crowd bring to the show. On the flipside, he plays the beaten man trying to find his way to heart-wrenching perfection. Tomei also brings her A-game, portraying a woman past her prime in an industry that repels reality and values youth.

Director Darren Aronofsky doesn’t attach his usual bells and whistles to the movie’s appearance; instead, he lets the story speak for itself through drained colours and an unpolished look. Any other choice would have detracted from the chronicle.

It would be simple to continue singing the The Wrestler‘s praises but you need to see it for yourself to realize its impact.