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16. "The Wrestler"
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood
Why: I'll be honest here: if there's one Oscar loss from the last five or so years that still stings a little more than the others (and it's not because the victor wasn't eminently worthy), it's Mickey Rourke's for his broken, brooding turn as a walking American tragedy in Darren Aronofsky's simplest and most emotionally wrenching film. It was a rare case of apparent stunt casting yielding a performance for the ages. Rourke appears to be playing out his own failures and insecurities via those of his character; together with Aronofsky's “Black Swan” (another Searchlight title), the film forms a striking dissection of any performer's fears and frailties.
- Guy Lodge