Mickey Rourke did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Marv in Sin City.
One of the major flaws of the film is the acting. Many of the performances are just awful as they struggle to read the lines, and sound as wooden as possible. Also the way the film tries to replicate the scenes from its source material make many of the actors stand and moves in ways that makes their performances seem extremely stilted. Also sometimes a performance can switch from awful to effective in the same scene like Bruce Willis at the beginning of the film. Some of his physical pain is well handled but his early scene where he talks with Michael Madsen's character it feels like both of them are reading off of cue cards.
Where so many of the actors get swollen whole by the overwhelming style of the direction and the rather cumbersome script, particularly its dialogue, its amazing that Mickey Rourke manages to avoid all of the problems that so many of the other actors suffer from. The film basically consists of three stories of equal importance and they each have a lead character the first being Rourke's, the second being Clive Owen's and the third being Bruce Willis's. They are each the lead in their own story, and due to that none of them drive the entire film making it more of an ensemble all together. Out of the three though Rourke's story is easily the best mainly because Rourke easily gives the best performance.
Out everyone in the cast Rourke just meets the material perfectly, and wears it perfectly from his elderly Kirk Douglas makeup, to even his place in the stylized background, Rourke just fits. I don't know frankly how he does it here, but where so many of the actors seem stiff in the recreations of the comic book scenes Rourke seems entirely natural, even if stylized. He meets the style just right that it really works only to amplify the effectiveness of the character and the story. He meets the style not only in a physical sense but he does so equally within his performance. Where so many of the actors struggle with the faux noir style of the language Rourke is just a master of it.
What perhaps works so well about Rourke's performance is that even though he embraces the style to the right degree, he in his own still goes about giving a convincing performance as Marv. Marv's story is about him having a one night stand with a beautiful woman Goldie who he finds is dead in the bed right next to him unaware of how it happened. After finding out he has been framed for the murder he goes about trying to discover who did it and get revenge for her death. This is a performance that very much has to move quickly as Marv is rarely given any time to talk. Rourke very much has to create Marve from scratch as fast just as he runs through the plot, and he does a marvelous job of it.
Mickey Rourke makes Marv an intensely likable hero who does all his mayhem with a certain bit of humor that is well utilized. He has a lot of fun in the role and makes us be able to take a ride with Marv through the film nicely, and actually does well to make the overly grim aspects of the film not as overwhelming due to the lighthearted fashion that he takes with the part. The lines that are so forced coming from the other actors just fly off the tongue out of Rourke, he just knows exactly what to do with the material. It all really comes down though to mixing just the right amount of realism with the style, sure his part is larger than life, but Rourke keeps him grounded in just the right degree in the right area.
Rourke combines well the physical humor aspects flawlessly with portraying the emotional drive in Marv that comes from him losing the only woman other than his mother that ever seemed to honestly love him. Rourke honestly is very subtle in the brief moments of portraying the very real pain and doubts of his character. These scenes are quick and to the point but Rourke does well to make the emotions honest, and not at all stylized. This great entertaining work by Rourke, and it easily makes his section of the film the most watchable. He is one of the few actors to really not get in engulfed by the material, and is the only actor to make his very own distinct mark on the film, although that is obvious since he is easily the best part of the film.