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January 29, 2009

No bare knuckle Rourke

84449792 He's not a wrestler, but he plays one in the movies.

Word from Mickey Rourke's publicist via Defamer is that the Oscar-nominated Comeback Kid won't step into the ring with WWE's Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania after all. Never mind that call-out on the red carpet of the SAG Awards -- Rourke just punked out. There will be no "Ram Jam" signature move outside the bleak Darren Aronofsky drama.

The statement:

"Mickey was very honored to be asked as he has the greatest respect for WWE however he will not be participating in Wrestlemania. He is focusing entirely on his acting career."

As we'd pointed out yesterday, it wasn't necessarily the April appearance that was causing such an awards season dustup -- that's long after the Oscars -- but it was the aggressive marketing certain to take place around that event that had the potential to short-circuit Rourke's hard campaigning work.

Seems Rourke was having second thoughts as soon as that promotion kicked in, on "Larry King Live" this week where he demured to a smack-talking Jericho and mumbled something about boxing or bare knuckle fighting instead of WWE-style grappling.

Jericho, of course, was ready to take that bait. (Watch the video here).

But it's not to be. 

We keep flashing back to "The Wrestler's" premiere in L.A. that was packed with pro wrasslers like Rowdy Roddy Piper, Rick "The Nature Boy" Flair, Diamond Dallas Page, Brutus Beefcake and others, who described how touched they were by the movie and Rourke's performance. It was real and true, they said, free of Hollywood artifice, and they've been vocal proponents to their significant and loyal fan bases.

Wonder what they're thinking now?


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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