And in what has the makings of the biggest comeback to date: Mickey Rourke's turn in "The Wrestler" as Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a classic case of art imitating life. Rourke, an 80s heartthrob and critical darling, had fallen into obscurity. Directors said he was difficult to work with and he liked to party. He turned to boxing, but a head injury knocked out that career.
"I kind of blamed it on 'I got tired of acting,'" explained Rourke, "but I just had some personal issue that I had to work out, work through."
But without those years in the Hollywood wilderness, he probably wouldn't have gotten a shot at this role, a beat-up wrestler in need of a comeback. And for any actor, landing that perfect combination of the right role at the right time is always a struggle. Even for someone who has been in the business for 48 years.
"I have a feeling there's a comeback in my life coming out," says Gossett. "I concern myself with being a little too old, but I'll play somebody that age, it doesn't matter. I want to play Denzel's father or something."