December 30, 2008 | 10:01am
The Daily Beast obtained text messages by our favorite local comeback kid Mickey Rourke trashing Sean Penn's performance in Milk and calling him a homophobe. It's ironic that Rourke is freely castigating people as homophobes when he was the one caught on tape calling a reporter a faggot just a few months ago. But it's not surprising. Rourke knows he'll be the best actor runner up for his role in The Wrestler in the awards show race, and spreading the idea that Sean Penn is a homophobe may be the only way he'll walk away with an Oscar come February. And because Rourke is sort of bonkers, that's just what he'll do.
See, performances aside there's this subtle undercurrent Penn will take home his second little gold baldie not just for his acting chops, but because he portrayed a famed gay rights leader in a movie that came out in the wake of Prop 8.
Now, I am continually annoyed by the always self-righteous Sean Penn, but that aside, I am really annoyed by this feeling that giving him another Oscar (after they already gave him Bill Murray's!!!) will somehow be Hollywood's FU to everyone who voted for Prop 8 and perhaps some repentance for choosing whatever gimmicky crap Crash was over Brokeback Mountain three years ago in the Best Picture race (for the record I was all about Capote that year).
This feeling that somehow awards show hardware will make a statement in the gay rights debate is kind of bullshit, but if they're going to do that why not rally around Milk's openly gay director Gus Van Sant? He's been working in and around mainstream cinema for years (and was nominated for Good Will Hunting) and has been an important voice in queer cinema. Or how about screen writer Dustin Lance Black? He's a gay Mormon. What kind of mind fuck would that be? Not that I even think he's deserving, but they gave a writing award last year to Diablo "This is one doodle that can't be un-did, homeskillet" Cody last year, so they're kind of meaningless.
Not that any of the other major awards ceremonies are rushing to role out the rainbow carpet. Look at the Grammys. Hercules and Love Affair, a band made up of a gay man, a lesbian, a transvestite and a transgendered person put out without a doubt the best American dance records, if not overall records of the year (it's the 10th best rated record of 2008 on Metacritic
), but came up empty handed even in the negligible dance categories. But, whatever. The Grammys are perpetually clueless and the only pseudo-political constituency they're looking to appease is the AARP.
Still though the forecast is that Sean Penn will walk away with an Oscar and Hollywood will pat itself on the back for awarding a straight man for giving such a brave performance as a gay man, and Mickey Rourke ...who is perhaps the dark house candidate in the race ...will walk away empty handed. And because Mickey Rourke is one crazy scooter riding motherfucker it's no surprise he's sending txt messages all over Hollywood spreading the meme the Penn is a homophobe.