Mickey Rourke

AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Even if Mickey Rourke goes the distance and wins an Oscar tomorrow night, what more can he possibly say?

Not that he'd exactly been holding back at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs, but the 56-year-old comeback kid outdid himself Saturday while accepting the trophy for Best Male Lead at the 2009 Film Independent's Spirit Awards, where his star vehicle, The Wrestler, won a leading three honors, including Best Feature and Best Cinematography.

Part paean to Eric Roberts ("the f---kin' man"), part elegy for his dog Loki, part ramble and all tailor-made for pay cable, Rourke's speech at the notoriously quirky beachside kudosfest either scared the crap out of the Motion Picture Academy or, as The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky noted backstage, could prove to be the best possible thing for the Oscar's declining ratings.

"Like I got, he deserves a second chance," Rourke said of Roberts, who eventually yelled, "Accept your award!" at the man onstage.

"I just got done talking to the Santa Monica Police Department," Rourke continued. "They gave me a bed to sleep in 10 years ago. And I thank them—I asked them for two pillows, they told me to f--k off. But anyway, thank you, Darren Aronofsky, for believing in me...I've told people in the past that directors like [him] come around every 25 years...He is one tough son of a bitch and he don't like it when I say that 'cause he goes, 'Mickey, you'll scare all the other actors away from me.' But Darren, you know what, if they ain't got the balls to bring it, then f--k 'em, you know."

He then forgets costar Marisa Tomei's name—but gives her quite the shout-out anyway—and thanks the WWE and Vince McMahon for being so supportive while their film exposed the seedier side of pro wrestling--"like steroids and the cocaine and the bangin' the girl...in the bathroom."

And there was more, but there were other awards handed out, too.

"I had a good time up there," beanie-topped presenter Philip Seymour Hoffman said backstage. "He had a lot to say."

"Who can follow that?" agreed Tom McCarthy, onstage to accept his Best Director award for The Visitor.

Other major winners with Oscar aspirations were Milk, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Frozen River, which swept the remaining acting categories with respective trophies for Best Supporting Male James Franco, Best Supporting Female Penélope Cruz and Best Female Lead Melissa Leo.

Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Victor Bello/TWC 2008

Both Cruz and Leo, who beat out Anne Hathaway today, have shots at Oscar gold tomorrow.

"They told me here it's important to say whatever you want and to swear—a lot. So I'll stick to my character in the movie," said a radiant Cruz, clad in a ruffly brown Alaïa dress.

"I'm always surprised when I hear my name," she told reporters backstage. "If I win [tomorrow] I want to be surprised. I don't want to expect it. If I don't win, I want to have a great night."

But first, she had a great day at the Spirit Awards, held as always in a big white tent on the beach in Santa Monica, Calif., where the vibe is more scarves and leggings than Harry Winston and Chanel and films that cost as little as $500,000 to make get credit where credit is due.

That's how we roll here at the Spirit Awards," quipped host Steve Coogan. "Who needs the Oscars, that world of back-slapping, that orgy of self-congratulation for the beautiufl people?

I look around me toay and I see people who are beautiful on the inside. At least, I hope you are. Nature can't be that cruel."

Best Foreign-Language Film honors went to festival darling The Class, the first French film to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes since 1987, while Best Documentary was handed to Man on Wire, about Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers.

Sorry to spoil the ending for you, but Petit was in the audience today to cheer on director James Marsh.

Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black won for Best First Screenplay and Woody Allen won for zillionth Best Screenplay for Vicky Christina Barcelona.

Charlie Kaufman's directorial debut, Synechdoche , New York, was also a two-timer, snagging its helmer a Best First Feature award and receiving the second annual Robert Altman Award, which honors Altmanesque ensemble work.

Also among those chillaxin' by the beach today were Justin Bateman, Ellen Page, Aaron Eckhart, Jon Hamm, Blair Underwood, Alec Baldwin, Michelle Monaghan, Laura DernMary-Kate Olsen, Ben Kingsley, Claire Danes, John C. Reilly, Thomas Hayden Church, Andie MacDowell, Emile Hirsch, Cameron Diaz, John Waters, Zooey Deschanel and Michael Bolton, whom Coogan duly thanked for saving his old hair and loaning it to Rourke to use in The Wrestler.

Here's the complete list of winners from the 2009 Film Independent's Spirit Awards:

Best Feature: The Wrestler
Male Lead: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
Female Lead: Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Supporting Male: James Franco, Milk
Supporting Female: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Director: Tom McCarthy, The Visitor
Screenplay: Woody Allen, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
First Feature: Charlie Kaufman, Synechdoche, New York
First Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Cinematography: Maryse Alberti, The Wrestler
Documentary Man on Wire
Foreign-Language Film: The Class
Producers Award: Heather Rae, Frozen River and Ibid
John Cassavetes Award: In Search of a Midnight Kiss
Someone to Watch Award: Lynn Shelton, My Effortless Brilliance
Truer Than Fiction Award: Margaret Brown, The Order of Myths
Robert Altman Award: Synechdoche, New York

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share