Best Actor is another award that was decided ages ago. The category is filled with broad performances, but Mickey Rourke is poised to take the prize.
The Visitor, starring nominee Richard Jenkins is a great little film and his performance is wonderful. See it if you get a chance. Sadly, he is the least likely to win against a lineup of big-budget heavy hitters. Frank Langella mumbles and blusters his way through a terrible impression of Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon. Sean Penn's portrayal of Harvey Milk is more nuanced, but doesn't have the heft of his competitors. Brad Pitt lives a lifetime in Benjamin Button and, as the lead in the most-nominated film, stands a reasonable chance.
But it looks like Mickey Rourke's year. Hollywood loves a comeback and he has certainly achieved it here. The whole movie plays as an allegory for Rourke's life and career: a young man wastes his fame and talent, burning hot and fast like a comet across the sky and in regretful middle age grasps at a fleeting happiness. The Wrestler is Mickey Rourke's apology for his youthful hubris and I can't think of anyone else who could play the part.